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Putin, Modi signal a step-up in India Russia relations

Elizabeth Roche
In a telephonic conversation on Monday, Russian President Vladimir and PM Narendra Modi pledged to increase efforts to develop the India-Russia Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership

New Delhi: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday pledged to increase efforts to develop the India-Russia Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership, almost a year after the two countries affected a reset in ties following a drift in relations.

In their telephonic conversation on Monday, Putin reiterated an invitation to Modi to take part in the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in September 2019 as a main guest, a statement from the Russian Embassy in New Delhi said.

Besides exchanging new year greetings, the two leaders also discussed “key issues of the bilateral agenda were discussed. It is noted that the relations of traditional friendship and a special and privileged strategic partnership between #Russia and #India will continue to develop dynamically,” the statement said.

“It was agreed to continue contacts at various levels. The President of Russia invited the Prime Minister of India to take part in the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in September 2019 as a main guest,” the statement said, adding that the Russian leader also wished Modi success in India's upcoming general elections.

An Indian government statement said that the two leaders “appreciated the major milestones achieved in the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between the two countries in the past year”.

It was in May that Modi visited the Russian city of Sochi for a summit meet with Putin to effect a reset in ties, frayed due to Russian wariness towards India's close ties with the US and New Delhi's concerns over Moscow's outreach to India's arch rival Pakistan. Putin later visited New Delhi in October for the India-Russia annual summit.

“The leaders agreed to maintain the momentum in the bilateral relations.... Bilateral cooperation in the key areas including defence and counter-terrorism was also discussed,” the Indian statement said.

“Both leaders agreed that India-Russia cooperation plays an important role in the global multilateral order. Both countries, therefore, will continue their close consultations in the United Nations, the BRICS, the SCO and other multilateral organizations,” the Indian statement added.