West is closely monitoring PM Modi’s Moscow visit, says Kremlin spokesperson Peskov

New Delhi/Moscow, July 7 (FN Agency) The West is closely and jealously watching Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to Russia on July 8-9, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. In an interview with VGTRK, Peskov said: “They are jealous – that means they are closely monitoring it. Their close monitoring means they attach great importance to it. And they are not mistaken, there is something to attach great importance to,” Tass reported. Peskov noted that PM Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin will address all issues on the agenda, “given the highly trusting nature of relations”. “We have joint participation in integration processes, so regional affairs, regional security and global security issues are always on the agenda. In addition, of course, our bilateral trade and economic cooperation — is also always one of the main issues that are discussed,” — the official representative of the Kremlin explained. Coincidentally, the summit meeting between PM Modi and President Putin comes as Washington is hosting the NATO summit on July 9–11, that will see all 32 NATO allies and several global partners meet, and also to mark 75 years since the alliance’s founding.

A Russian expert told Izvestia that “Sales of Russian oil to India are growing every month, with Indian refineries processing approximately two million barrels of Russian oil per day, which is 40% of total Indian imports. After that, the oil refining products are sold profitably to Europe, which had refused to buy fuel from Russia directly”. In addition, the first batch of coal went from Kemerovo to India along the North–South International Corridor through Iran. Meanwhile, Rosoboronexport, Russia’s defence-export agency and part of state-owned Rostec defence corporation, has arranged for the production in India of 3VBM17 ‘Mango’ rounds with armour-piercing sub-calibre shells, RT reported. The project is being implemented under New Delhi’s ‘Make In India’ initiative, which aims to increase the country’s self-sufficiency. The 125-mm projectiles are designed for firing from the cannons of the T-72 and T-90 tanks deployed by India’s military.

These munitions are intended to target armoured vehicles with composite protection, Rostec said. Its general director Sergey Chemezov said that “To ensure the highest degree of localization in the production of the Mango rounds, plans are underway to establish the production of propellants in India.” Russia and India engage in several such projects, according to defence officials. This includes the licenced production of T-90 tanks, Su-30MKI fighters and other weapons systems. According to Alexander Mikheev, head of Rosoboronexport, the facility for manufacturing Mango tank rounds in India has been set up using the capabilities of an Indian defence company. “This enables the Indian side to master the transferred technology and organize production,” he noted. In a separate statement, Rostec announced that another Indo-Russian joint venture has produced and delivered 35,000 AK-203 Kalashnikov rifles to the Indian Ministry of Defence. The AK-203s are produced in India using exclusive Russian technologies and certified equipment, the corporation noted, RT reported.