The two sides held a game-changer '2 Plus 2' Dialogue. While Putin called India "a great power, a friendly nation, and a time-tested friend," PM Modi said that despite the emergence of different geopolitical equations in the last few decades, "the friendship between India and Russia has been a constant."
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to open up a new vista in ties at the New Delhi summit and pledged to reboot a relationship that has stagnated in recent years after India enhanced its relationship with the US and Moscow moved closer to Beijing.
Putin called India "a great power, a friendly nation, and a time-tested friend," and for his part sharing the optimism of his Russian guest, PM Modi said that despite the emergence of different geopolitical equations in the last few decades, "the friendship between India and Russia has been a constant."
The two countries also finalised an accord on military cooperation for ten years. An agreement was inked for joint production of over six lakh AK-203 assault rifles at a manufacturing facility in Uttar Pradesh's Amethi.
Although the altered geopolitical landscape and the China factor poses new challenges in maintaining close ties, the strong defence partnership between India and Russia goes back to the Cold War years.
Obviously, despite many changes and sustained US pressures, Russia is still India's largest arms supplier, with over two-thirds of its military equipment being of Russian origin.
Talks between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Russian counterpart Sergei Shogoi underlined increased military cooperation in the time to come.
The two sides held a game-changer '2 Plus 2' Dialogue. Russian President Vladimir Putin landed in Delhi in-person for one-on-one interaction, and the 21st Annual Summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi was no small thing.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Putin has only travelled to Geneva for a bilateral summit with US President Joe Biden.
"The fact that the Russian President decided to visit India for our annual summit is an indication of the importance he attaches to the bilateral relationship and his personal rapport with PM Modi," Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla told reporters.
PM Modi and President Putin made a strong pitch for a 'secured and stable Afghanistan' with "an inclusive government with all sections of society."
In his remarks, Prime Minister Modi said at the Summit conversation: "We are adopting a long-term vision to strengthen our partnership in economic affairs."
By 2025, the Prime Minister said – "We have set a trade target worth $30 billion and investment worth $50 billion."
Sources say Russia has begun deliveries of the S-400 air defence missile systems. Washington has often warned New Delhi, deterring it from buying Russian military equipment. But India has remained firm about it. Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, appreciated that New Delhi stuck to the commitment made to Russia on the deal.
Both the leaders discussed the "need for mutual recognition" of vaccine certification to enable easier travel by the citizens to each other's countries, Shringla said.
"Mr Modi also thanked President Putin for the welfare of the Indian community in Russia, especially during COVID pandemic," the Foreign Secretary said.
He remarked that President Putin's visit could be short, but it was "highly productive and substantive". Twenty-eight agreements/MoUs were concluded during this visit, Shringla said.
The Foreign Secretary said both sides "were very clear" that the Afghanistan territory should not be used for training and sheltering, planning and financing any acts of terrorism. "There were of course concerns on the issues of drugs and other concerns that could emanate from Afghanistan," Mr Shringla said.
Both the leaders had detailed talks on regional and international issues of "common interest".
"They decided to continue consultation and coordination between two sides on Afghanistan including for a peaceful, secured and stable Afghanistan," he said.
Prime Minister Modi said: "The first 2+2 Dialogue between our defence and foreign ministers has taken place (on Monday). It starts a new mechanism to improve our behavioural cooperation."
Putin said his country is "concerned" about the Afghan situation, and it also considers that fight against drugs is as vital as the global war to crush terrorism.
"We are concerned about everything that has to do with terrorism. Fight against terrorism is also fight against drug trafficking and organised crime," Putin said.
A Joint Statement said both sides "Intend to focus particularly on increasing the effectiveness of countering terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, cross-border organised crime, and information security threats."