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SOURCE: HT

Although Russia wants India and China to bilaterally resolve the Ladakh military stand-off, President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi maintain a close personal relationship that is the bedrock of bilateral Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership.

On Wednesday, PM Modi called up President Putin to wish him 68th birthday, just as the latter phoned PM Modi to wish him on his 70th birthday on September 17. In a tweet, PM Modi later said he appreciated Putin’s “immense personal contribution” to strengthening the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two counries. Among others who congratulated President Putin on his birthday were leaders of Israel, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Cuba, Moldova, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

It is interesting to note that while Russia and China have an economic and security relationship, the personal touch between President Putin and President Xi Jinping has been missing from both sides.

According to diplomats based in Moscow and New Delhi, while Russia has offered India winter clothing and Sprut light weight tanks with a T-90 barrel for Ladakh stand-off, there are reports that Moscow has delayed the supply of the second S-400 surface to air missile system ostensibly on account of the coronavirus pandemic. China has contracted to buy four S-400 systems from Russia, the first one has already been deployed near Nyingchi across Arunachal Pradesh.

India has a deal to buy 5 S-400 systems from Russia, deliveries of which are likely to begin at the end of next year. The order of additional Su-30 MKI and MiG-29 fighters to replenish the reserve are already on schedule.