President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi share a good Relationship. This has resulted in India and Russia working as a combined balancing force in a world that is getting polarised along the US and China axes. HIGHLIGHTS Russia has been the trusted friend of India since the 1950s Russia has backed India's claim for a permanent seat at UNSC Narendra Modi and Vladimir Putin have met 4 times since last year's summit
How India, Russia balance US-China domination I Putin -Modi meet
The meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one such event. When top leaders of two major powers meet, it is never a bilateral affair. It becomes an event of geostrategic significance.
India and Russia recognise each other as a strategic partner through an agreement first inked in the 1970s and then reaffirmed in early 2000s. They have given a multi-polar shape to geostrategic engagement of the major powers.
A little history would place things in proper perspective. Between the end of the World War II and the fall of the Soviet regime (USSR) in 1991, the world was largely bipolar in its strategic dealings. The US-led the capitalist bloc while the USSR was the leader of the socialist/communist group.
The fall of USSR saw the world becoming unipolar with the US as the sole master. That equation of power has undergone a change in recent years, with China emerging as the strong contender for the other pole.
India and Russia have been the balancing force in this realignment of global powers. With Narendra Modi and Vladimir Putin seem to have a personal rapport, they are in a position to influence geostrategic politics - with regard to sanctions on Iran, the Middle East equation, tariff manipulations, terrorism and several other issues.
The India visit of Putin would mark the fifth meeting with Modi since the annual bilateral summit in June last year when the prime minister travelled to Russia. This meeting was followed by meetings in Hamburg, Germany for the G20 summit & Astana, Kazakhstan
Moreover, Narendra Modi travelled to Sochi in May this year for an informal summit with Vladimir Putin. The visit was undertaken to smoothen India-Russia relations further.
This was necessitated as the ties between the two countries were dwindling with trade slipping below $10 billion after 2014. India looked closer to the US and Russia was seen favouring China and Pakistan.
Overall, Russia has supported India's demand for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council. Russia also helped India attain full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
It has also batted for India's entry into the exclusive club of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) even though New Delhi does not intend to sign the Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), a mandatory condition for membership.