Russian President Putin, PM Modi agree to maintain personal dialogue: Kremlin

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday agreed to maintain personal contacts in the future and wished each other success in the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in their countries, the Kremlin said.

Putin and Modi spoke to each other over telephone, weeks after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visited Russia, during which the two countries decided to step up military and technical cooperation, including manufacturing of modern weaponry.

“It has been agreed to continue personal contacts,” the Kremlin’s press office said following the talks between Putin and Modi.

“Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi expressed interest in further intensification of mutually beneficial bilateral ties and wished each other success in the upcoming elections: the presidential election in Russia and the parliamentary election in India,” the state-run Tass news agency quoted the Kremlin statement as saying.

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

So far, 21 annual summits have taken place alternatively in India and Russia. The last summit took place in New Delhi in December 2021.

Russia is holding a presidential election from March 15-17, 2024. Putin is campaigning as an independent candidate. India is set to hold parliamentary elections later this year.

The report also noted that President Putin and Prime Minister Modi also discussed cooperation in the trade and economic sphere during their conversation.

“Current issues of development of Russian-Indian particularly privileged strategic partnership relations were discussed,” the Kremlin said.

Putin and Modi noted with satisfaction “the success achieved in practical interaction in such areas as trade and economic and scientific-technical cooperation, energy, transport and logistics, and cooperation in the Russian Far East,” it added.

The ties between India and Russia remained strong notwithstanding Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. India’s import of Russian crude oil has gone up significantly despite increasing disquiet over it in many Western countries.

India has not yet condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and it has been maintaining that the crisis must be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue.