Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet in Uzbekistan on Friday and discuss trade as well as sales of Russian fertilisers and mutual food supplies, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

"There are plans to discuss issues of 'saturation' of the Indian market with Russian fertilizers and bilateral food supplies," it said in its handout of materials for the meeting. The meeting will be held on the sidelines of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a regional security bloc.

"First of all, moves, aimed at boosting bilateral trade flows, will be looked at. The trade turnover reached $11.5 billion in the first half of 2022, up almost 120 per cent year-on-year," the Kremlin said.

Long-term fertiliser import deal

India's fertiliser imports from Russia rose to $1.03 billion in April-July compared to $773.54 million in whole of the last fiscal year to March 31, 2022, according to the Indian commerce ministry's website. India is looking for a three-year fertiliser import deal with Russia.

Attempts to sign a long-term fertiliser import deal earlier this year were hit by the challenging 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 the summit in Uzbekistan's ancient Silk Road city of Samarkand.

India and China are key buyers of Russian energy, helping to cushion Moscow from the effects of Western sanctions and allowing the two Asian economies to secure raw materials at discounts compared to supplies from other countries. The two Asian nations have not publicly criticised Moscow's actions in Ukraine, despite the outcry in the West.

Discounted Russian oil

India, which rarely used to buy Russian oil, has emerged as Moscow's second-biggest oil customer after China. Refiners in India, the world's third-biggest oil importer, and consumer, have been snapping up discounted Russian oil, shunned by some western countries and companies.

The Group of Seven countries is working to cap the price of Russian oil from December 5 in an attempt to cut the price Russia receives for oil without reducing its petroleum exports to world markets. So far, India and China have not said if they will join the price cap mechanism.

Oil minister Hardeep Singh Puri last week said India would examine the issue when more details are available. He also said many conversations and proposals were taking place and "we will see who is participating" in the price cap mechanism.

social-fb COMMENT NOW