Indian PM Hugs Putin As He Arrives Moscow For Talks (Photos)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew into Moscow on Monday and warmly hugged President Vladimir Putin on a visit that treads a fine line between maintaining a longstanding relationship with Moscow and courting closer Western security ties.

The visit is Modi’s first since Russia launched its campaign in Ukraine and since he was returned to power last month as leader of the world’s most populous country.

After meeting Moscow’s Indian community, Modi had an informal meeting with Putin at his residence at Novo-Ogaryovo outside Moscow, where the leaders drank tea on a terrace, rode in a golf cart together and visited stables.

The Indian leader told Putin it was a “moment of joy” to visit and thanked him for planning “that we chit-chat here this evening”.

“Looking forward to our talks tomorrow as well, which will surely go a long way in further cementing the bonds of friendship between India and Russia,” Modi later wrote on X, posting a photo of the leaders hugging.

Moscow remains a key supplier of cut-price oil and weapons to India, but the Kremlin’s isolation from the West and blooming friendship with Beijing have impacted its time-honoured partnership with New Delhi.

Western powers have in recent years also cultivated ties with India as a bulwark against China and its growing influence in the Asia-Pacific, while pressuring it to distance itself from Russia.

Modi last visited Russia in 2019 and hosted Putin in New Delhi two years later, weeks before Russia began its offensive against Ukraine.

India has shied away from explicit condemnation of Russia ever since and has abstained on United Nations resolutions censuring Moscow.

But Russia’s fight with Ukraine has also had a human cost for India.

Leave a Reply