Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is in Russia seeking to bring back the lost momentum in India's ties with Russia, today held wide-ranging talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interests, including ways of boosting energy and trade ties.
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|Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin || |
Modi's Russia visit comes at a time when Russia has moved closer to India's adversaries, China and Pakistan, raising unease in New Delhi and also raising a fundamental question: Is Moscow still India's 'tried and trusted' friend?
However, one need not read too much into Russia's new cosiness with the Taliban. Moscow is opportunistically seeking to use the Taliban as a tool to weigh down the US military in Afghanistan. It also sought to befriend Pakistan as the Taliban's command-and-control base and guerrilla sanctuaries are in Pakistan.
Under Putin, Russia has rejigged its geopolitical strategy to respond to the biting US-led sanctions against it since 2014. Russia has also significantly expanded the geopolitical chessboard on which Moscow can play against the US and Nat.
Mode, however, at the beginning of their restricted meeting, tried to assure himself saying, "Normally, international relations see ups and downs but history is witness Indo-Russia relations have not seen any ups and downs."
The prime minister also thanked the Russian president for playing a crucial role in getting India Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) membership.
Putin said India will become a full-fledged member of the SCO in a week.
Mode mentioned to Putin about his visit to the cemetery this morning where he paid homage to the victims of the World War II. "You are a leader whose family has given sacrifices. Your brother was martyred," Mode told Putin.
Putin's brother was killed 70 years ago in the siege of Leningrad during the World War II.
He thanked Mode for visiting the war memorial, saying such places have special place in Russian people's heart.
The two sides are expected to sign 12 agreements in various sectors, including science and technology, railways, cultural exchanges and other business areas between private parties, in addition to a "vision statement" that the two leaders will release.
India and Russia are likely to ink a deal to build the last two units of India's largest nuclear power plant in Kudankulam.