Modi, Putin meet ahead of BRICS Summit, likely to sign defence deals

Rajesh Mahapatra and Jayanth Jacob,Panaji: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir

Putin began a closed-door bilateral meeting on Saturday ahead of the BRICS Summit in Goa, in which a clutch of big-ticket defence deals will be signed.
Putin arrived in Goa after a nine-hour delay for the 17th annual India-Russia summit, in which Modi will likely raise concerns over Russia-Pakistan’s military ties among other matters.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said Modi and Putin “will discuss a range of issues including defence, counter-terrorism”.
The leaders will later participate in the foundation-laying ceremony of the third and fourth power units at the Kundakulam nuclear power plant via video conference.
Several defence deals are expected to be inked, including a pact for delivery of anti-missile defence system – S-400 Triumpf, a new version of the BrahMos missile. The S-400 can shoot down around 36 targets simultaneously over several hundred kilometres. Russia’s most modern air defence system is in use in Syria.
The two sides are also looking at a work-share agreement for the fifth generation fighter jets and a deal to jointly produce Ka-226T helicopters.
Sources said talks on a framework agreement for two more reactors in Kudankulam and their funding were in an advanced stage.
Putin earlier arrived at the Dabolim airport to a red carpet welcome after which Modi greeted the Russian President on Twitter saying: “India welcomes you, President Putin! Wishing you a fruitful visit.”
Top bureaucrats from the Russian defence, energy, trade and industries ministries are accompanying the President.
The two leaders are expected to hold discussions over lunch and issue a formal statement to the media following the summit.