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India’s Modi will meet with Putin on 2-day visit to Russia starting Monday, Kremlin says


MOSCOW — The Kremlin on Thursday said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Russia next Monday and Tuesday and hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The visit was first announced by Russian officials last month, but the dates have not been previously disclosed.

Russia has had strong ties with India since the Cold War, and New Delhi’s importance as a key trading partner for Moscow has grown since the Kremlin sent troops into Ukraine in February 2022. China and India have become key buyers of Russian oil following sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies that shut most Western markets for Russian exports.

Under Modi’s leadership, India has avoided condemning Russia’s action in Ukraine while emphasizing the need for a peaceful settlement.

The partnership between Moscow and New Delhi has become fraught, however, since Russia started developing closer ties with India’s main rival, China, because of the hostilities in Ukraine.

Modi on Thursday skipped the summit of a security grouping created by Moscow and Beijing to counter Western alliances.

Modi sent his foreign minister to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization at its annual meeting in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana. The meeting is being attended by Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Indian media reports speculated that the recently reelected Modi was busy with the Parliament session last week.

Modi last visited Russia in 2019 for an economic forum in the far eastern port of Vladivostok. He last traveled to Moscow in 2015. Putin last met with Modi in September 2022 at a summit of the SCO in Uzbekistan. In 2021, Putin also traveled to New Delhi and held talks with the Indian leader.

Tensions between Beijing and New Delhi have continued since a confrontation in June 2020 along the disputed China-India border in which rival troops fought with rocks, clubs and fists. At least 20 Indian troops and four Chinese soldiers were killed.

After his reelection to a third straight term. Modi attended the G7 meeting in Italy’s Apulia region last month and addressed artificial intelligence, energy, and regional issues in Africa and the Mediterranean.

In the early 1990s, the Soviet Union was the source of about 70% of Indian army weapons, 80% of its air force systems and 85% of its navy platforms.

India bought its first aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, from Russia in 2004. It had served in the former Soviet Union and later in the Russian navy.

With the Russian supply line hit by the fighting in Ukraine, India has been reducing its dependency on Russian arms and diversifying its defense procurements, buying more from the U.S., Israel, France and Italy.