India-Russia set for a gas deal; Payment in Rupees likely | Putin snubs Pakistan; Russia declares ‘won’t do anything that impacts India ties’

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India and Russia are close to concluding a major deal on gas supply. Novatek, Russia’s largest liquified natural gas producer, is in talks with state-run GAIL for supply of LNG. Novatek could consider taking payments in rupees.

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GAIL agreed to a 20-year deal with GMTS in 2012 for annual purchases of an average of 2.5 million tonnes of LNG on a delivered basis. At the time, GMTS was a unit of Gazprom Germania, now called Sefe, but the Russian parent gave up ownership of Sefe after Western sanctions. GAIL, India’s largest gas distributor, rationed gas supplies and cut runs after supplies under the GMTS deal were halted.

Russia has presented fresh proof of its close partnership with India. The Vladimir Putin administration has “strangled” its defence ties with Pakistan in favour of “friend” India. Denis Alipov, the Russian Ambassador to India, clarified in a statement that “Russia would never do anything detrimental to India.”

The clarification came after Russian Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow would continue to support Pakistan in regular military contacts. On January 30, Pak Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto visited Moscow to intensify Islamabad’s defence and trade cooperation with Russia.

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