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Putin, Modi to make joint appearance at Diamond Congress

Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan welcomes Russian President Vladimir Putin on his arrival at the Air Force Station, Palam, in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: V. Sudershan   | Photo Credit: V_Sudershan

Diamonds, not defence and strategic ties, will be the highlight of the summit-level meetings between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi here. The two leaders will make a rare joint appearance at the World Diamond Congress at Vigyan Bhavan, where Mr. Modi is expected to announce measures for direct import of rough diamonds from Russia that will significantly reduce transaction costs for Indian traders.

In addition, Mr. Putin and Mr. Modi will witness the announcement of a dozen deals with Russian state-controlled company Alrosa which accounts for over a third of global diamond production and supplies close to one-third of the world’s rough diamonds and Indian diamantaires (diamond cutters).

The government has already announced the setting up of a special economic zone for processing diamonds, as demanded by the industry that is located primarily in Gujarat.

The focus on diamonds marks a shift in previous annual summits between India and Russia that had been dominated by strategic cooperation, big defence deals and major energy agreements.

While the two countries are expected to sign 15 agreements in these fields, including new nuclear power project units in Kudankulam and LNG energy supplies, the leaders are making an obvious push towards improving bilateral trade.

Despite the close strategic ties between the two countries in the past, trade is at only $10 billion, a figure that has been on the decline for the past two years.

“It is important to reverse this trend,” said Mr. Putin replying to questions submitted by Indian journalists.

Mr. Putin will meet Indian CEOs and Congress president Sonia Gandhi. He will attend a banquet hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee before flying out on Thursday evening for “prior commitments.”

PTI reports:

Mr. Putin arrived here late on Wednesday night. Mr. Putin, who is accompanied by a high-level delegation that included business tycoons, was received by Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan among other dignitaries.


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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 4:29:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/putin-modi-to-make-joint-appearance-at-diamond-congress/article6680450.ece

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