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PM Modi leaves for Russia visit, says look forward to reviewing bilateral ties with 'friend' Putin (WATCH)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his anticipation for his upcoming visit to Russia, highlighting the special bond he shares with President Vladimir Putin.

PM Modi calls Putin as 'friend' ahead of visit to Russia, says look forward to reviewing bilateral cooperation snt
First Published Jul 8, 2024, 10:39 AM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his anticipation for his upcoming visit to Russia, highlighting the special bond he shares with President Vladimir Putin. Modi referred to Putin as a "friend" and emphasized the importance of reviewing the bilateral cooperation between India and Russia.

"The Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia has advanced over the past ten years, including in the areas of energy, security, trade, investment, health, education, culture, tourism and people-to-people exchanges. 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," PM Modi said in a statement ahead of his visit to Moscow.

"We seek to play a supportive role for a peaceful and stable region. The visit will also provide me an opportunity to meet the vibrant Indian community in Russia," PM Modi added.

PM Modi is scheduled to be in Moscow from July 8 to 9 for the 22nd India-Russia Annual Summit. This will be Modi's first visit to Russia since Moscow's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The Kremlin has described the visit as "very important and full-fledged," noting that the West is watching the trip with "jealousy."

During the summit, the two leaders will discuss a wide range of multifaceted relations and exchange views on contemporary regional and global issues of mutual interest, according to the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi.

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson, stated that PM Modi’s programme in Moscow will be extensive, allowing for both formal and informal talks.

“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.

Highlighting the strategic partnership, Peskov noted that there will be both one-on-one talks in the Kremlin and discussions involving delegations.

“We are expecting a very important and full-fledged visit, which is so crucial for Russian-Indian relations,” he was quoted as saying by the official Tass news agency.

Peskov also mentioned the West's keen interest in Modi's visit, saying, "They are jealous — that means they are closely monitoring it. Their close monitoring means they attach great importance to it. And they are not mistaken, there is something to attach great importance to."

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, PM Modi has engaged in several telephonic conversations with both Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, advocating for an end to the conflict through diplomacy and dialogue. Reflecting its strong friendship with Russia, India has not condemned Moscow's invasion of Ukraine and has continued to import discounted Russian crude oil, despite the G7 price cap and concerns in many Western capitals.

This visit will be Modi's first to Russia in nearly five years; his last visit was in 2019 for an economic conclave in Vladivostok. The annual summit between the leaders of India and Russia is the highest institutional dialogue mechanism in the strategic partnership between the two countries, with 21 summits held alternately in India and Russia so far. The last summit was held on December 6, 2021, in New Delhi when President Putin visited India.

Meanwhile, PM Modi described Austria as India's "steadfast and reliable partner"

"In Austria, I will have the opportunity to meet President Alexander Van der Bellen and Chancellor Karl Nehammer," Modi said.

"Austria is our steadfast and reliable partner and we share the ideals of democracy and pluralism. This is the first visit of an Indian prime minister in over 40 years. I look forward to my discussions to take our partnership to even greater heights in new and emerging areas of innovation, technology and sustainable development among others," he added.

Modi expressed his anticipation for engaging with business leaders from both countries to explore and enhance mutually beneficial trade and investment opportunities.

"I will also be interacting with the Indian community in Austria which is well regarded for their professionalism and conduct," he said.

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