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Putin-Modi summit may be held in first half of 2021 - Russian ambassador

The diplomat reminded that despite the pandemic, contacts between both states had not ceased

NEW DELHI, December 21. /TASS/. The meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi planned for October 2020 and later postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be held in the first half of 2021, Russian Ambassador to India Nikolai Kudashev told Russian reporters on Monday in an interview timed to the tenth anniversary of the special and privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India.

"The pandemic has made holding contacts more difficult, it has affected the frequency of face-to-face meetings, however, on the whole, it has not affected the close Russian-Indian political and economic dialogue. A summit is the highest point of such dialogue, it should have been held in October of this year, and large-scale preparatory efforts had been made in advance, however, it was decided to postpone the meeting until next year by mutual consent. I hope that we will see the Russian president here in India in the first half of next year," Kudashev said.

The ambassador reminded that despite the pandemic, contacts between both states had not ceased. In January 2020, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited India, where he took part in the Raisina Dialogue conference and met with his Indian colleague Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. Jaishankar also visited Russia this year. Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh took part in the events timed to the Victory Day parade in Moscow in the summer, and in the fall, he participated the meeting between CIS, SCO and CSTO defense chiefs.

"Besides, the Russian president and the Indian PM have met in the collective format at least four times, during the SCO and BRICS summits in November, and during two G20 summits, one in March dedicated to the pandemic, and during the regular summit in the fall. These meetings were held online," the ambassador said, pointing out that the dialogue between both states on key issues of global development and bilateral relations has been fruitful and intensive. "The leaders have held phone calls many times," the ambassador added.

Planned meetings

Kudashev noted that in the run-up to the summit, a number of events will be held, including the meeting of the bilateral commission on military and military-technical cooperation that should be held in early 2021. In early 2021, a meeting between the co-chairs of the bilateral intergovernmental commission on trade-economic, science-technical and cultural cooperation is expected as well. "We expect that these meetings will not be held online, they will be face-to-face, their dates are currently in the works," the Russian envoy pointed out.

"The role of parliamentary diplomacy is being expanded in our relations; by late winter - early spring of the next year, probably in February, we foresee another meeting of the Russian-Indian interparliamentary commission. India takes over the BRICS chairmanship in 2021, it will be the receiving country. Our leaders will work a lot in this format. In the fall of next year, a BRICS summit can be expected. At the start of next year, in January, the Indian side will name their priorities and expand on their plans," the ambassador informed.

"India is also taking over as chairman within the promising format of Russia, India, China (RIC) as well. The parameters of the Indian chairmanship will be known in January. This is a very promising Eurasian format, the agenda of which goes beyond the region. We can expect an intensive dialogue here as well," the Russian ambassador stated.