Home Russia Modi Praises ‘True Friend’ Putin, Proffers Peace On Ukraine

Modi Praises ‘True Friend’ Putin, Proffers Peace On Ukraine

Russia's President Vladimir Putin awards Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First-Called at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. (REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina)

The Modi visit to Russia was high on symbolism with a solemn wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier followed by President Vladimir Putin conferring on Narendra Modi Russia’s highest honour, the Order of St Andrew the Apostle, the two leaders  lauded their friendship and promised more good years.

“There was a great challenge of fuel before the world. At a time like this, with your cooperation, we were able to save the common public from difficulties pertaining to petrol-diesel. Not only this, the world will have to accept that the agreement regarding fuel between India and Russia, indirectly gave market stability in the world,” Modi said.

His reference to Ukraine may have raised some eyebrows.

“Whether it is war, conflict or a terrorist attack any person who believes in humanity is pained when there is loss of life. When innocent children are killed, the heart bleeds and that pain is very terrifying.”

But Modi also noted that “The eyes of the world are on this visit and I am happy that we were able to openly lay our thoughts on the Ukraine issue, were able to discuss it and tried to understand each other’s opinion with due respect.”

He also said that “India is ready to help in anyway it can and I can assure you and the world that peace is possible.”

The Russians brushed that aside, officials clarifying that India was not mediating on Ukraine.

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Delegation-level talks were not held given that Modi and Putin had discussions stretching around three hours yesterday.

Civil nuclear power cooperation is receiving a boost. There was an agreement on fuel supply for units three to six of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant. India is expected to get a new design of 1200 megawatt VVER reactors and there are plans for cooperation in controlled nuclear fusion.

Discussions on joint ventures to make spare parts in India for Russian military equipment are expected to get underway.

The two leaders set a trade target of $100 billion from the current $65 billion. The idea is to expand trade into areas away from oil and thereby reduce India’s trade deficit. Nine documents were signed focusing on economic engagement.

As regards Indian nationals who were misled into joining the Russian military in Ukraine, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said 10 had been brought back to India. The estimate is around 35 to 40 are still in Ukraine.

Two Indian consulates will open, one in Kazan and the other in Ekaterinburg. This is expected to help Indian students who are present in considerable numbers in Russia. It is also expected to boost tourism from Russia.