Modi-Putin meet to reinvigorate old ties

New Delhi: Amid global turmoil and in a bid to arrest perceptible drift in relations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on MAY 21 held an ‘informal setting’ meet in Sochi city, located on the Black Sea coast.
PM Modi who reached Sochi this morning, embraced Putin with a warm hug upon arrival at Bochkarev Creek. The two held restricted talks first with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, Indian Ambassaador Pankaj Saran and Joint Secretary in PMO Gopal Baglay on the Indian side.
According to sources, host of issues, including strain in ties between US and Russia and possible Trump administration sanctions for dealing with Russian military firms blacklisted by Washington DC also figured in talks.
Recalling his first visit to Russia with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2001, Modi remarked that his meeting with Putin then was a first with any world leader after becoming Chief Minister of Gujarat.
He also emphasized that the seed of strategic partnership between India and Russia were sown during the Vajpayee-Putin meeting. “Now, we have added a new chapter of an informal summit. Last four years I have walked shoulder to shoulder with you. We have had free consultations on bilateral issues to global developments,” added PM Modi in his first meeting with Putin since the latter’s return to Kremlin as President for the fourth term.
PM Modi also thanked Russia for its role in India’s membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). India and Pakistan became full members of SCO last year and in early June PM Modi will be travelling to Qingdao for the summit meet.
The PM will have an opportunity to meet Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping again during the upcoming SCO and BRICS summits following the informal meetings with the two world leaders in Wuhan and Sochi.
“You played a key role in granting India full membership in the SCO and BRICS, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), as well as in such mechanisms as the North-South International Transport Corridor,” remarked Modi.

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