Moscow: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin today held the annual India-Russia Summit here to further strengthen the already close bilateral strategic partnership. Modi, who arrived here yesterday on a two-day visit, held talks with Putin during a restricted meeting in Kremlin to begin the 16th India-Russia Summit.
The restricted meeting was followed by delegation-level talks. “From inside the Kremlin! PM Narendra Modi & President Putin begin the 16th Annual Summit with a restricted meeting,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted along with a picture of the two leaders at the Kremlin.
The talks between the two countries, bound by “special and privileged strategic ties”, have been taking place alternately in Moscow and New Delhi since 2000. Last night, Prime Minister Modi was hosted by Putin at a private tete-a-tete in Kremlin during which the two leaders touched upon issues of mutual interest for both countries.
“Met President Putin and discussed India-Russia ties. The meeting was fruitful,” Modi had tweeted after the meeting. The meeting took place hours after Modi arrived here to a red carpet welcome. Putin also hosted a private dinner for Modi yesterday.
The two sides are expected to sign a number of pacts to expand cooperation in a number of key areas including defence, nuclear energy, hydrocarbons and trade. In the nuclear energy sector, India is expected to offer a site in Andhra Pradesh to set up units five and six of Kudankulam nuclear power plant.
It is expected that both countries will seal a number of defence deals as well. Today’s meeting was Modi’s second summit with Putin who had travelled to New Delhi last year for the 15th India-Russia Summit.
The volume of current bilateral trade between the two countries is around USD 10 billion and both sides are aiming to take it to USD 30 billion over the next 10 years.