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India and Russia eye PM Modis' visit to Moscow in early July | Latest news India

India and Russia eye PM Modis' visit to Moscow in early July |  Latest news India
India and Russia eye PM Modis' visit to Moscow in early July |  Latest news India

 


India and Russia are considering the possibility of a visit to Moscow by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in early July for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.  (AP File Photo)(HT_PRINT)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AP File Photo)(HT_PRINT)

If the visit goes ahead, it will be Modi's first trip to Russia since 2019, and also the first since Russia's invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022. Putin last visited India in 2021 for the annual India-Russia summit, which has not yet taken place. occurred over the past two years.

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Although there has been no official announcement from the Indian and Russian sides, people close to the preparations for the visit in New Delhi and Moscow said on condition of anonymity that the Indian prime minister is expected to make a brief one-day visit to Russia in early July. Some reports suggest the date of the visit would be July 8, but there has been no official confirmation.

Read also | Ten Indians serving in Russian army returned home (MEA)

In Moscow, Yuri Ushakov, an aide to the Russian president, told reporters that active preparations were underway for Modis' visit and that the two sides would announce the date by mutual agreement.

I can confirm that we are preparing a visit from the Indian Prime Minister. We cannot (say) the dates at the moment, because the dates are announced by the parties by mutual agreement. But we are actively preparing. I would like to emphasize once again that this visit will take place, Ushakov said in response to journalists' questions.

One of the people cited above said the trip would be an official visit and not a state visit, which has more ceremonial elements. The focus will be on meetings and discussions, the person said.

People also pointed out that the Indian side is yet to send a forward liaison team to Russia, a prerequisite for any foreign visit by the Prime Minister.

Read also | S Jaishankar in Singapore: 'India and Russia took special care of each other's interests'

Modi and Putin last met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 16, 2022, when he urged him to return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the Ukrainian conflict. I know that the current era is not that of war and we have told you several times on the phone that democracy, diplomacy and dialogue are things that affect the world, Modi had said then.

Since then, the two leaders have spoken on the phone several times, most recently when Putin called Modi on June 5 to congratulate him on his election victory. According to a Russian statement, Putin said Modi's victory was recognition of strengthening political power. [Indias] international authority.

The development closely follows Modi's decision to skip the SCO summit in Kazakhstan on July 3-4, apparently due to the ongoing session of Parliament and tense relations with China. India is expected to be represented at the SCO meeting by Foreign Minister S Jaishankar.

A visit to Kazakhstan would have brought Modi face to face with Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for the first time in his third term. The Indian side had sent an advance liaison team to Kazakhstan to prepare for Modi's planned visit.

The proposed visit to Moscow will allow India to signal that there will be continuity in its policy of strategic autonomy, sources familiar with the matter said. Despite growing strategic and security ties with the United States and other key Western actors, India has not publicly criticized Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The country also stepped up purchases of discounted Russian crude despite initial pressure from the United States, believing such a move was necessary to control domestic oil prices.

However, India has repeatedly called for a cessation of hostilities in the Ukraine conflict and a return to the path of dialogue and diplomacy to find a lasting solution.

Sources

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