New Delhi: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and wished him all the best for Lok Sabha polls, besides discussing both bilateral and international issues. The bilateral issues discussed included defence and counter-terrorism.
The two leaders wished each for the new year, with PM Modi wishing the Russian people on the occasion of Christmas, celebrated in Russia on Monday. Significantly, the phone call took place just days after US President Donald Trump took a jibe at PM Modi over India’s development efforts in Afghanistan.
Ties between the US and Russia have nose-dived ever since allegations that Russia tried to influence the US Presidential elections of 2016 which Moscow has denied.
Russian diplomatic sources said, “On January 7, 2019, Mr Putin had a telephone conversation with Mr Modi. The conversation focused mainly on bilateral cooperation and current international issues. ...Mr Putin wished Mr Modi success in connection with the upcoming parliamentary elections in India.”
Russian diplomatic sources further said, “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 leaders confirmed their mutual willingness to increase cooperation in fighting against international terrorism and solving other pressing world issues.” Mr Putin also invited Mr Modi to take part in the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in September 2019 as a main guest.
In a statement, New Delhi said, “The two leaders appreciated the major milestones achieved in the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two countries in the past year.
Recalling successful wide-ranging discussions, inter alia, in Sochi in May and during President Putin's visit to New Delhi in October for the 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 MEA further said, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin of Russia exchanged warm greetings for the Year 2019 in a telephonic conversation today. The Prime Minister also wished the President and Russian people on the occasion of Christmas, which is being celebrated in Russia today. 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 organisations."