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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Putin invites ‘friend’ Modi to Moscow

Russian president discussed bilateral relations, Ukraine with Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar at the Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday evening held talks with the External Affairs Minister of India Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who is on a four-day official visit to Russia.

During the meeting at the Kremlin, Putin invited Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to visit Russia to have a detailed discussion on bilateral issues as well as geopolitical developments, including the Ukrainian conflict.

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We would be glad to see our friend Prime Minister Modi in Russia. We’ll be able to discuss all current issues and talk about the prospects for the development of Russian-Indian relations. We have a lot of work ahead,” the Russian leader said, according to the Kremlin readout.

We are aware of Prime Minister Modi’s position [… and] his stance regarding complex processes, including [global] hotspots and the situation in Ukraine. I have repeatedly briefed him on the situation regarding this conflict. I know his desire to do everything possible to resolve this issue through peaceful means,” Putin said, promising to discuss the issue “in more detail” during closed-door talks.

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Jaishankar conveyed “personal greetings” on behalf of Modi and handed over a “written message” to Putin containing “thoughts regarding the state of our cooperation and the progress that has been achieved in recent days.” The top diplomat said he was confident a meeting of the two leaders would take place next year at a “suitable date” for both sides.

Earlier in the day, Jaishankar told the media in Moscow that he was “very confident” the tradition of having annual bilateral summits between the leaders of the two countries could resume next year. A meeting between Modi and Putin could not be held this year because of India’s G20 presidency and “certain preoccupations” towards the end of the year, Jaishankar noted, speaking at a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. The more recent bilateral summit took place in New Delhi in December 2021.

During the briefing, Jaishankar underlined that India’s relationship with Russia remains “very steady” and “very strong.” “[The relationship is] based on our strategic concerns, our geopolitical interests, and because they are mutually beneficial,” he said, emphasizing these strong sentiments are shared at all levels, from the top leadership to ordinary people.

Jaishankar said he had discussed several pivotal areas of cooperation during his meeting with his Russian counterpart and other top Moscow officials. He noted they spent “a lot of time” discussing political cooperation concerning “various international issues,” including those related to intergovernmental organizations such as BRICS and SCO.

The Indian diplomat also shared that he discussed cooperation related to the Russian Far East with Lavrov. Next month, a delegation from the Far East is expected to participate at one of India’s biggest trade shows, the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit held in the state of Gujarat.

“Energy, fertilizers, and coking coal are very big components [of India-Russia trade]. How we reach long-term arrangements in that regard was a big part of our discussion,” Jaishankar said, adding that the need to progress on a bilateral investment treaty, development of railway infrastructure and development of industrial-zone infrastructure also figured during his discussions in the Russian capital. New Delhi will also resume Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks with the Eurasian Economic Union, comprising Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Belarus, and Russia, next month.