Russian President Putin holds talks with Indian PM Modi
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Russian President Vladimir Putin in New Delhi on Monday, with trade and the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan both on the agenda.
Afghanistan’s takeover by the Taliban earlier this year has led to a humanitarian crisis in the country, which New Delhi and Moscow have both previously said risks destabilising the region.
“The fight against terrorism is also a fight against drug trafficking and organised crime,” Putin said in introductory remarks broadcast by Indian media. “In that regard, we are concerned about developments of the situation in Afghanistan.”
Putin described India as a great power, a friendly nation and a time-tested friend and echoed common concerns over terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime as he held wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Putin also expressed concern over the developments in Afghanistan and said India and Russia will continue to coordinate on major challenges facing the region.
‘‘We perceive India as a great power, a friendly nation and a time-tested friend. The relations between our countries are growing and I am looking into the future,’’ Putin said in his initial comments.
Modi said Putin’s second visit abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic reflected his personal commitment to the India-Russia ties and that the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two sides was getting stronger.
Putin said both sides continue to cooperate on global issues and the positions of the two sides on many issues have similarities.
‘‘Naturally, we are concerned about everything that has to do with terrorism. I mean the fight against terrorism and the fight against drug trafficking and organised crime. And with that regard, we are concerned about the developments in Afghanistan,’’ Putin said.
The Russian leader also referred to growing cooperation between India and Russia in areas of environment, trade and investment and high technology among others.
‘‘Right now, the mutual investments stand at about 38 billion. More investments are coming from the Russian side,’’ Putin said.
The Russian leader said he was ‘‘so very happy to be able to visit the friendly country of India.’’ In the last few decades, the world witnessed many fundamental changes and different kinds of geopolitical equations and variables, but the friendship of India and Russia remained constant, Modi said.
‘‘Your visit to India is a reflection of your commitment to ties with India,’’ the prime minister said.
The summit talks took place hours after the foreign and defence ministers of the two countries held their inaugural ‘2+2’ dialogue with an aim to widen the ambit of discussions on strategically important issues.
Putin flew into India on a short visit for the summit.
The visit by Putin and several top Russian officials comes amid increasingly strained relations between Russia and the United States, also a key Indian ally.
Earlier on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a deal to supply India with S-400 air defence missile systems was being implemented despite what he said were U.S. efforts to undermine the accord.
India and Russia are expected to cement several trade and defence pacts at the summit.
“The relation between India and Russia is truly a unique and reliable model,” Modi said