Modi’s trip to Moscow ‘very successful’ – New Delhi

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India has dismissed claims that there was friction during the PM’s visit to Russia

The bilateral meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin was “very successful,” a top Indian diplomat has said, while dismissing reports about “some friction in Moscow.”

Vinay Kwatra, India’s foreign secretary, issued the clarification while fielding a question from an Austrian journalist who had referred to reports of friction between the two leaders during their summit in Moscow, including information that one session between the Russian and Indian delegations had been cancelled.

“There were no cancellations of any particular programming element during the prime minister’s visit to Moscow,” Kwatra asserted, adding that it was “incorrect” and “quite misleading.” The discussions between the two leaders far exceeded the time that was actually allocated by the two sides, he noted.

Modi and Putin met for bilateral talks on Tuesday, during which they negotiated on a wide range of issues. The two sides have also set a goal of reaching $100 billion in bilateral trade by 2030 and signed ten documents covering various areas of cooperation. Ahead of the official talks, the two leaders met informally at the Russian president’s residence in Novo-Ogaryovo. 

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India has refused to condemn Russia over Ukraine and continues to engage extensively with Moscow despite scrutiny from the West and allegations that New Delhi’s purchases of Russian commodities have helped soften the blow of sanctions. Last month, the Indian delegation refused to sign the final document at the so-called Ukraine ‘peace summit’ held in Switzerland to which Russia was not invited.

Bilateral trade between the nations has already almost tripled in the past two years to around $65 billion as India has ramped up energy, fertilizer, and coal imports from Russia. However, reducing the trade imbalance is vital to sustain the positive momentum, according to both countries, as Indian exports to Russia only accounted for less than $5 billion over the last fiscal year. The volume of bilateral trade has continued to grow this year as well, hitting a record $23.1 billion in the first four months of the current year, a 10% rise versus the same period in 2023.

During a visit to Austria the day after being in Russia, Modi also made remarks on the Ukraine conflict, noting that it poses a considerable challenge for the Global South and developing countries “in terms of challenges of food security, energy security, fertilizer security.” While addressing the media in Austria, Modi reiterated that “this is not the time for war,” a statement he first made in 2022. In Moscow, Modi asserted that the Russia-Ukraine conflict cannot be solved on the battlefield and insisted on finding a resolution through dialogue.

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