Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Moscow.

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Moscow this evening, his first visit since Russia launched its campaign in Ukraine. He was received at the airport by First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Denis Manturov.

“I look forward to deepening the special and privileged strategic partnership between our countries,” PM Modi said after landing in Moscow, where he will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin tomorrow.

Mr Putin hosted a private dinner for Prime Minister Modi tonight ahead of the 22nd India-Russia summit in Moscow tomorrow.

“The Prime Minister is ready to hold important talks with President Vladimir Putin to further the special partnership between the two countries. He should also interact with the Indian community in Russia,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said on X. will.”

PM Modi is walking a fine line between maintaining longstanding ties with Moscow and forging closer Western security ties. This is PM Modi’s first visit after coming to power for the third time.

“I look forward to reviewing all aspects of bilateral cooperation with my friend President Vladimir Putin and sharing perspectives on various regional and global issues,” PM Modi said in a statement before leaving India. “We want to play a supporting role for a peaceful and stable region.”

Russia is the main supplier of oil and arms to India at low cost. Western powers have also built ties with India in recent years as a strong weapon against China and its growing influence in the Asia-Pacific, while pressuring it to distance itself from Russia.

PM Modi last visited Russia in 2019 and hosted Mr Putin in Delhi two years later, weeks before Russia launched its offensive against Ukraine.

Sources said the focus of the visit is on the economic agenda – energy, trade, manufacturing and fertilizers – and that no solution can be found on the battlefield.

India and Russia have had close ties since the Cold War, and Russia was India’s largest arms supplier for a long time. But Ukraine has cut off Russian arms supplies. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Russia’s share of Indian arms imports has declined significantly in recent years.

At the same time, India has become a major buyer of Russian oil, providing Moscow with a much-needed export market after being cut off from traditional buyers in Europe. It has dramatically reshaped energy relations, with India saving itself billions of dollars while bolstering Moscow’s war coffers.

According to commodity tracking data compiled by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air, India’s month-on-month imports of Russian crude “rose eight percent in May to the highest level since July 2023.”

From Russia, PM Modi will travel to Vienna for the first visit to the Austrian capital by an Indian leader since former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1983.

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