04:43 GMT +319 January 2019
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Moscow Kremlin

    Indian PM Modi to Visit Russia, Germany Starting May 29

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    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a long tour of Germany, Spain, Russia and Kazakhstan on May 29. Experts say the tour, especially in the context of the visit to Russia for the St. Petersberg International Economic Forum, will set the pace and direction of bilateral ties.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) While the Prime Minister’s visit to Germany and Spain will be bilateral in nature, the trip to St. Petersburg in Russia from June 1-3 has broader ramifications in both bilateral and multilateral context.

    In Germany, the first stop of the three-nation tour, the Indian Prime Minister will hold talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel and discuss ways to take strategic relations to the next level by enhancing business ties. This will be Modi's second visit to Germany in two years. In April 2015, he had been in Germany for the Hannover fair in which India was the partner country.  The German Chancellor made the return visit the same year in October.

    In Spain, PM Modi will be seeking cooperation in infrastructure and energy sectors. Modi visit to Spain will also be the first stand-alone bilateral visit by an Indian prime minister since Rajiv Gandhi’s in 1988.

    Modi will then proceed to attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) which will be attended by thousands of business leaders from across the globe. It will provide PM Modi an opportunity to seek investments in India amid rising uncertainty in global trade as protectionism in the West, especially the US, rises.

    “Given the rise in global uncertainty over trade and immigration, the SPIEF could become a very attractive proposition for emerging economies and other countries. It offers yet another platform to India to seek investments and showcase its economic vision,” Ashok Sajjanhar, former Indian ambassador to Kazakhstan and a career diplomat, told Sputnik.   

    Modi is also expected to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin to review the state of bilateral relations and ways to push the ties further on the sidelines of the summit. Modi and Putin will be meeting with each other for the second time in a span of less than a year, highlighting the chemistry between the two leaders. 

    “Our expectation is that PM Modi and President Putin will have a frank discussion on many issues of global affairs, but from the Indian point of view, especially the role of Taliban in the Russia-led peace process in Afghanistan. Our government’s position is so far very clear on that issue, but a discussion with President Putin will be helpful. Both sides are also expected to review progress in trade which has been set at $30 billion by 2025. I will say it looks ambitious but India-Russia trade ties have much more potential than this,” he said.

    India and Russia are expected to discuss matters related to trade and investment, defense and nuclear cooperation. The nuclear aspect is expected to focus around finalization of the general framework agreement for units 5 and 6 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu. While there is no confirmation whether Modi and Putin will sign a formal agreement during the visit, precedents indicate that the summit meetings between India and Russia have often resulted in high-profile announcements.

    After his return from Russia, PM Modi will head to Kazakhstan for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Astana on June 7 and 8. The other SCO members attending the meet are Pakistan, China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

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