Ahead of his visit to the Russian city of Sochi for an informal summit with President Vladimir Putin on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that the talks will help further strengthen bilateral ties.
“Greetings to the friendly people of Russia. I look forward to my visit to Sochi tomorrow (Monday) and my meeting with President Putin. It is always a pleasure to meet him,” Modi said in a statement prior to his departure.
“Am confident the talks with President Putin will further strengthen the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia,” he stated.
The Prime Minister’s visit comes after National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale visited Moscow earlier this month to discuss a way out of the US sanctions on Russian firms.
The sanctions against Russian oligarchs and companies, including Rosoboronexport, the state-owned Russian weapons trading company, has raised concerns in India about a possible impact on India’s military buys from Moscow.
An External Affairs Ministry release said Modi’s visit to Russia will be an important occasion for him and Putin to exchange views on international matters in a broad and long-term perspective in order to further strengthen the special and privileged strategic partnership.
“Both leaders will discuss their respective national developmental priorities and bilateral matters,” the statement said.
It said the informal summit was in keeping with the tradition of regular consultations between India and Russia at the highest level.
Putin is also expected to visit India later this year for the annual bilateral summit.
Russia and Japan are the only two countries with which India holds annual bilateral summits.
Modi’s visit to Russia also comes just after Putin won a fourth term in office in March this year after remaining in power for almost two decades. Modi and Putin last met in Russia last year.