05 July 2024

Narendra Modi to visit Russia for talks with Kremlin head Vladimir Putin

05 July 2024

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Russia on a two-day visit starting Monday and will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin has said.

The visit was first announced by Russian officials last month, but the dates have not been previously disclosed.

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 US and its allies that shut most Western markets for Russian exports.

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

The partnership between Moscow and New Delhi has become fraught, however, since Russia started developing closer ties with India’s main rival, China, because of the hostilities in Ukraine.

On Thursday, Mr Modi skipped the summit of a security grouping created by Moscow and Beijing to counter Western alliances.

He sent his foreign minister to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) at its annual meeting in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana. The meeting is being attended by Mr Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Mr Modi last visited Russia in 2019 for an economic forum in the far eastern port of Vladivostok. He last travelled to Moscow in 2015. He last met Mr Putin in September 2022 at a summit of the SCO in Uzbekistan. In 2021, Mr Putin also travelled to New Delhi and held talks with the Indian leader.

Tensions between Beijing and New Delhi have continued since a confrontation in June 2020 along the disputed China-India border in which rival troops fought with rocks, clubs and fists. At least 20 Indian troops and four Chinese soldiers were killed.

After his re-election to a third straight term, Mr Modi attended the G7 meeting in Italy’s Apulia region last month and addressed artificial intelligence, energy and regional issues in Africa and the Mediterranean.

In the early 1990s, the Soviet Union was the source of about 70% of Indian army weapons, 80% of its air force systems and 85% of its navy platforms.

India bought its first aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, from Russia in 2004. It had served in the former Soviet Union and later in the Russian navy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File) (AP)

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox