Russia sees India as great power, time-tested ally: Putin
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Russian president Vladimir Putin before a meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India on December 6, 2021. (ANI Photo)
RUSSIAN president Vladimir Putin on Monday (6) said in his opening remarks at the 21st India-Russia Annual Summit meeting that Moscow sees India as a great power and time-tested ally.
Putin, who reached New Delhi on Monday in what is only his second overseas trip this year, said while meeting Indian prime minister Narendra Modi at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi, “We perceive India as a great power, a friendly nation, and a time-tested friend. The relations between our nations are growing and I am looking into the future.”
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“Last year the trade between India and Russia had decreased by 17 per cent, but in the first 9 months of 2021, both countries witnessed an increase in trade by 38 per cent,” the veteran Russian leader said.
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Monday’s meeting marked the first in-person interaction between the two leaders since they spoke on the sidelines of the 2019 BRICS Summit in Brazil.
Putin’s visit is in continuation of the tradition of annual summits held in India and Russia alternately.
Modi said after meeting Putin that despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, India-Russia relations witnessed no change in the pace of growth.
“Despite the challenges posed by COVID, there is no change in the pace of growth of India-Russia relations. Our special and privileged strategic partnership continues to become stronger,” he said.
The Indian prime minister later tweeted about his meeting with Putin, saying, “Welcome to India my friend President Putin. Our meeting today will strengthen our Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership. The initiatives that we take today will further increase the scope of our cooperation to new areas.”
During their talks, Mod and Putin also touched upon the situation in Afghanistan under the Taliban control.
“We are certainly worried about everything related to terrorism and the fight against it. As well as with drugs, with organized crime. In this regard, of course, we cannot but worry about the situation and how it is developing in Afghanistan,” the Russian president said.
Earlier in the day, the two countries had their first 2+2 ministerial dialogue and signed an agreement for the procurement of 601,427 assault rifles AK-203 through India-Russia Rifles Private Limited under the military-technical cooperation arrangement for 2021-31.
Putin also said during the summit that both Moscow and New Delhi continue to develop relations both in the international arena as well as in the military sphere.
“We are conducting joint military exercises both in India and in Russia. We are grateful to you for your understanding of this component of our work, we intend to continue working in this direction,” Putin was quoted as saying by Russian news agency Sputnik.