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Putin, India's Modi To Sign New Defense, Energy Deals At Summit


Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a BRICS summit in Goa, India this weekend.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will sign new energy and defense agreements at a meeting of the biggest emerging nations that starts October 15.

Putin will hold talks with Modi after arriving in the Indian tourism state of Goa for a BRICS summit including the heads of state of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

Among the agreements to be signed is Moscow's delivery of its most advanced S-400 anti-aircraft defense system to India.

India, the world's top defense importer, is spending $100-billion to upgrade its Soviet-era military hardware, as it looks to protect its borders from arch-rival Pakistan and an increasingly assertive China.

Modi and Putin will also focus on strengthening energy ties to meet India's growing thirst for fuel and electricity for its fast-growing economy.

Russia's biggest oil company Rosneft is expected to acquire India's Essar Oil in a multi-billion-dollar deal, according to Indian media.

"The menu is vast," India's ambassador to Russia, Pankaj Saran said at a briefing.

"It is more than a relationship, it is a partnership and very justifiably it has been described by the two leaders as both special and privileged, as well as of course strategic," he said.

"It is very deep and very intense and it is poised to grow even further."

Saran said he also expected them to discuss India's tensions with Pakistan, which spiked after an attack last month on an Indian army base that killed 19 soldiers.

Modi has sought to isolate Pakistan internationally since the attack that India blamed on Pakistan-based militants.

India said it subsequently carried out strikes against militants over the border in Pakistan, prompting a furious response from Islamabad.

"We have conveyed our views to the Russian side. We are confident that Russia will reflect upon our concerns," Saran said.

But Putin is seen as unlikely to weigh into the dispute between the rivals, as Moscow also eyes closer defense ties with Islamabad. Russia and Pakistan carried out their first joint military exercise last month.

India was the Soviet Union's closest military ally during the Cold War and a major importer of its military hardware. But in recent years New Delhi has turned to the United States for supplies, as the two nations forged stronger ties.

The BRICS group was formed in 2011 with the aim of using the growing economic and political influence of emerging nations to challenge Western hegemony.

With reporting by AFP, dpa, and TASS
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