Stronger India-Russia ties will benefit us: PM Modi in Moscow | Foreign Policy, Defense & Security News

In his first trip since Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Narendra Modi began a two-day high-level visit to Russia on Monday for summit talks with President Vladimir Putin, focusing on strengthening bilateral ties in the areas of energy, trade and defence.

Shortly after landing in Moscow, Modi said he looked forward to deepening the bilateral partnership in forward-looking areas and that stronger relations between India and Russia would “bring great benefits to our people”.

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

During his visit to Russia, Manturov also received Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“Landed in Moscow. I look forward to further deepening the special and privileged strategic partnership between our nations, particularly in forward-looking areas of cooperation,” Modi said at 'X'.

“Stronger relations between our nations will bring great benefits to our peoples,” he said.

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

Russian President Putin will host a private dinner for Modi this evening ahead of talks at the 22nd India-Russia Summit in Moscow on Tuesday.

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

“The Prime Minister is expected to hold substantive talks with President Vladimir Putin to advance the special partnership between the two countries. He will also engage with the Indian community in Russia,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Randhir Jaiswal said on “X”.

A guard of honour stood before the Indian Prime Minister at the airport. In front of the Carlton Hotel in Moscow, he was warmly welcomed by members of the Indian diaspora and a group of Russian artists who danced to Hindi songs.

In his farewell statement, Modi said India wants to play a supporting role for a peaceful and stable region.

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

The focus of the summit talks between Modi and Putin is likely to be on further strengthening bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade, energy and defense. The Ukraine conflict will also play a role in the talks.

“The special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia has evolved over the last decade, including in the areas of energy, security, trade, investment, health, education, culture, tourism and people-to-people exchanges,” Modi said in his farewell statement.

“I look forward to discussing all aspects of bilateral cooperation with my friend President Vladimir Putin and exchanging perspectives on various regional and global issues,” he said.

“We want to play a supporting role for a peaceful and stable region,” he said, without giving any specific details.

New Delhi vigorously defends its “special and privileged strategic partnership” with Russia and maintains momentum in these relations despite the Ukraine conflict.

India has so far not condemned the Russian attack on Ukraine and has consistently pushed for a solution to the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy.

The Prime Minister said the visit would also provide him with an opportunity to meet the vibrant Indian community in Russia.

In a post on “X” before leaving for Moscow, Modi said: “In the next three days, we will visit Russia and Austria. These visits will be a wonderful opportunity to deepen relations with these countries with which India has a long-standing friendship.”

Before Modi's visit to Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the agenda would be “extensive.”

“Of course, the agenda will be extensive, not to say overcrowded. It will be an official visit and we hope that the heads of state and government will also be able to talk to each other in an informal way,” he said.

During the talks, Modi is expected to urge the Russian side to stop recruiting Indians as auxiliary personnel for the Russian military and ensure the return of those still serving.

The annual summit between the Prime Minister of India and the President of Russia is the main institutional dialogue mechanism in the strategic partnership between the two countries.

The annual summits take place alternately in India and Russia.

The last summit took place in New Delhi on December 6, 2021. President Putin visited India to attend the summit.

At the summit, both sides signed 28 memoranda of understanding and agreements and issued a joint statement titled “India-Russia Partnership for Peace, Progress and Prosperity”.

Most recently, Prime Minister Modi and President Putin held bilateral talks on September 16, 2022 on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

At the meeting, Modi urged Putin to end the conflict in Ukraine, saying: “We are not living in an era of war today.”

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Modi has had several telephone conversations with Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Sybil Alvarez

"Incurable gamer. Infuriatingly humble coffee specialist. Professional music advocate."

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