Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday held direct talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Brazil, a day later than it was officially scheduled.
Modi, who had met Putin in Moscow in 2001, ''sincerely'' admired Putin's decisive leadership and his role in deepening and expanding the India-Russia ''special and privileged'' strategic partnership.
"Even a child in India, if asked to say who is India's best friend, will reply it is Russia, because Russia has been with India in times of crisis," he remarked.
Modi was to meet Putin immediately after interacting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday night; but the meeting was put off as the Russian leader was engaged in talks with Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff in the capital Brazilia.
Speaking in Hindi, Modi said India was looking forward to Putin's visit to India scheduled for December. He reaffirmed that relations with Russia would continue to enjoy the priority that they always had in India's foreign policy.
The two leaders said they looked forward to their annual summit in Delhi in December this year as an opportunity to outline a bold vision and roadmap for their relationship in the years ahead.
During his 40-minute meet, the Indian Prime Minister invited President Putin to visit Kudankulam atomic power project during his trip, to which Putin responded, ''It is a good idea.''