PM Modi reaches Moscow, says ‘stronger India-Russia ties will benefit our people’
In this May 21, 2018 file image Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet at at Sochi, Russia. Photo: PTI

PM Modi reaches Moscow, says ‘stronger India-Russia ties will benefit our people’

Modi is in Russia to hold summit talks with President Vladimir Putin with a focus on boosting bilateral ties in areas of energy, trade and defence

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who began his two-day high-profile visit to Russia on Monday (July 8), said he is looking forward to deepening bilateral partnership in futuristic areas and that stronger ties between India and Russia will "greatly benefit our people".

Modi is on a visit to Russia to hold summit talks with President Vladimir Putin with a focus on boosting bilateral ties in areas of energy, trade and defence.

It is Modi's first trip to Russia since 2019, the first after the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022 and the first in Modi's third term as the prime minister.

Modi received by Russia’s First Deputy PM

Modi was received at the Vnukovo-II airport by Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov. The Russian first deputy minister also accompanied Modi to his hotel from the airport in the same car, officials said.

Manturov had received Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to Russia as well.

“Landed in Moscow. Looking forward to further deepening the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between our nations, especially in futuristic areas of cooperation," Modi said on X.

"Stronger ties between our nations will greatly benefit our people," he said.

Private dinner by Putin

Russian President Putin is set to host a private dinner for Modi on Monday night ahead of Tuesday's talks at the 22nd India-Russia summit in Moscow.

Modi will co-chair the 22nd India-Russia annual summit with Putin and will also interact with the members of the Indian community.

"PM is set to hold substantive discussions with President Vladimir Putin to take forward the special partnership between the two countries. He will also interact with the Indian community in Russia," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said on 'X'.

Indian diaspora welcomes PM

The Indian prime minister was accorded a guard of honour at the airport. He was given a warm welcome outside The Carlton Hotel in Moscow by members of the Indian diaspora and a group of Russian artists who danced to the tune of Hindi songs.

In his departure statement, Modi said India seeks to play a supportive role for a peaceful and stable region.

After concluding his engagements in Russia on July 9, Modi will leave for Austria in the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to that country in over 40 years.

What’s on agenda?

The focus of the Modi-Putin summit talks is expected to be on further boosting bilateral cooperation in trade, energy and defence. The Ukraine conflict is set to figure in the discussions.

"The special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia has advanced over the past 10 years, including in the areas of energy, security, trade, investment, health, education, culture, tourism and people-to-people exchanges," Modi said in his departure statement.

"I look forward to reviewing all aspects of bilateral cooperation with my friend President Vladimir Putin and sharing perspectives on various regional and global issues," he said.

"We seek to play a supportive role for a peaceful and stable region," he said without making any specific references.

Focus on Ukraine

New Delhi has been stoutly defending its "special and privileged strategic partnership" with Russia and maintained the momentum in the ties notwithstanding the Ukraine conflict.

India has not yet condemned Russia's attack on Ukraine and consistently pitched for a resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy.

The prime minister said the visit will also provide him an opportunity to meet the vibrant Indian community in Russia.

In a post on X, Modi, before leaving for Moscow, said: "Over the next three days, will be in Russia and Austria. These visits will be a wonderful opportunity to deepen ties with these nations, with whom India has time-tested friendship." Ahead of Modi's visit to Moscow, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the agenda will be "extensive".

"Obviously, the agenda will be extensive, if not to say overbusy. It will be an official visit, and we hope that the heads will be able to talk in an informal way as well," he said.

In the talks, Modi is expected to urge the Russian side to end the recruitment of Indians as support staff to the Russian military and ensure the return of those still operating in the force.

Russia-India summit

The annual summit between the prime minister of India and the president of Russia is the highest institutional dialogue mechanism in the strategic partnership between the two countries.

The annual summits are held alternatively in India and Russia.

The last summit was held on December 6, 2021, in New Delhi. President Putin had visited India to attend the summit.

The summit saw both sides sealing 28 MoUs and agreements besides coming out with a joint statement titled "India-Russia Partnership for Peace, Progress and Prosperity".

Prime Minister Modi and President Putin last held bilateral talks on the margins of a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) at Samarkand in Uzbekistan on September 16, 2022.

In the meeting, Modi had famously pressed Putin to end the conflict in Ukraine saying "today's era is not of war".

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Modi has held several telephonic conversations with Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

(With inputs from agencies)

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