08 July 2024

Indian PM arrives in Russia on first visit since invasion of Ukraine began

08 July 2024

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in Moscow to begin a two-day visit, his first since Russia sent troops into Ukraine.

Mr Modi is set to have dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, to be followed by talks.

The Indian leader last travelled to Russia in 2019, when he attended a forum in the far eastern port of Vladivostok and met Mr Putin.

The leaders also saw each other in September 2022 in Uzbekistan, at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation bloc.

Mr Modi posted photos of his arrival in Moscow on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, saying in both Russian and English that he was “looking forward to further deepening the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between our nations, especially in futuristic areas of co-operation”.

“Stronger ties between our nations will greatly benefit our people,” he wrote, also sharing a picture of himself and Mr Putin hugging.

Later, the two leaders were pictured in videos shared by the Kremlin at Mr Putin’s residence, Novo-Ogaryovo, near Moscow.

Mr Putin drove Mr Modi around the grounds in a buggy and showed him his stable with horses. According to state news agencies, the two had earlier watched a horse show with performers in national Russian dress.

Mr Modi thanked Mr Putin for hosting him at Novo-Ogaryovo and said he was looking forward to Tuesday’s talks, which he hoped will “go a long way in further cementing the bonds of friendship between India and Russia”.

Russia has had strong ties with India since the Cold War, and New Delhi’s importance as a key trading partner for Moscow has grown since the Kremlin sent troops into Ukraine in February 2022.

China and India have become key buyers of Russian oil following sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies that shut most Western markets off to Russian exports.

India now gets more than 40% of its oil imports from Russia, according to analysts.

Under Mr Modi’s leadership, India has avoided condemning Russia’s military action in Ukraine while emphasizing the need for a peaceful settlement.

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