Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet in Uzbekistan on Friday to discuss trade and the sale of Russian fertilizers and mutual food supplies, the Kremlin said on Tuesday. “There are plans to discuss the issues of ‘saturating’ the Indian market with Russian fertilizers and bilateral food supplies,” it said in its materials for the meeting.
The meeting will be held on the sidelines of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security bloc. “First of all, we will look at steps aimed at strengthening bilateral trade flows. Trade turnover reached $11.5 billion in the first half of 2022, up almost 120% year-on-year,” the Kremlin said. India’s fertilizer imports from Russia rose to $1.03 billion in April-July, compared with $773.54 million for the entire last fiscal year to March 31, 2022, according to India’s commerce ministry website. India is seeking a three-year fertilizer import deal with Russia.
Attempts to sign a long-term fertilizer import deal earlier this year have been hit by a difficult geopolitical situation after Russia launched what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24. Putin will also meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of a summit in the ancient Silk Road city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
India and China are key buyers of Russian energy, helping to cushion Moscow from the effects of Western sanctions and allowing both Asian economies to secure raw materials at discounts compared to supplies from other countries. The two Asian nations have not publicly criticized Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, despite outrage in the West. India, a rare buyer of Russian oil, has become Moscow’s second-largest buyer of oil after China. Refineries in India, the world’s third-largest oil importer and consumer, have been scooping up discounted Russian crude that some Western countries and companies shun.
The Group of Seven countries have been working to cap the price of Russian oil since Dec. 5 in an effort to lower the price Russia receives for oil without reducing oil exports to world markets. India and China have not yet said whether they will join the price cap mechanism. Petroleum Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said last week that India would look into the matter as more details become available. He also said there are many talks and proposals going on and “we’ll see who participates” in the price cap mechanism.