In an oblique reference to Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday said both India and Russia were against outside influence in internal matters of any nation while addressing a joint press conference with President Vladimir Putin.
“We both are against outside influence in internal matters of any nation,” Modi said at the joint press meet in Vladivostok, where India and Russia signed 15 MoUs for cooperation in connectivity, oil and gas, deep-sea exploration, space, energy and others.
PM Modi’s remarks come on the back of Pakistan ratcheting up rhetoric on Kashmir and seeking to internationalise the issue after the government on August 5 scrapped the special status of J&K under Article 370.
Modi also announced a proposal for a maritime route between Chennai and Vladivostok, bypassing Europe. “A proposal has been made to have a full-fledged maritime route that serves as a link between Chennai and Vladivostok.”
This shipping link would enable to transfer cargo between Chennai and Vladivostok in 24 days in comparison to over 40 days currently taken to transport goods from India to Far East Russia via Europe.
“Newer areas of collaboration such as shipbuilding offer opportunities for diversifying the strong India- Russia economic ties,” PM Modi further said.
Calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “good friend”, Modi said India-Russia friendship was not only restricted to their respective capital cities. “We have put people at the core of this relationship,” the PM, who is on a two-day visit to Russia, said.
PM Modi, who arrived in Russia Wednesday morning, met Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum and discussed ways to further cement the special and privileged Strategic Partnership between the two countries.
Strong winds propelling the India-Russia relationship!
— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) September 4, 2019
“This is a historical occasion to give a new dimension to the cooperation between the two countries,” Modi said in his opening remarks at the 20th India-Russia Annual Summit on the sidelines of the EEF, which Russia has hosted since 2015 to boost partnerships with Asian countries.
Modi said Russia is an “integral friend and trustworthy partner” of India as he praised President Putin’s personal efforts on expanding the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two countries. “On many occasions, I have spoken to you over the telephone to discuss several issues and I have never felt any hesitation,” Prime Minister Modi told Putin.
#WATCH: PM Modi & Russian President Vladimir Putin on board a ship on their way to Zvezda ship-building complex, Vladivostok. In a special gesture, President Putin decided to accompany PM Modi. Both leaders discussed ways to deepen cooperation in ship building. (Earlier visuals) pic.twitter.com/M3SiqKCXby
— ANI (@ANI) September 4, 2019
Modi expressed his gratitude to President Putin and people of Russia for conferring Russia’s highest civilian award ‘Order of St Andrew the Apostle’ award on him. “This demonstrates the friendly relations between the people of our two countries. It’s a matter of honour for the 1.3 billion Indians,” he said.
Modi, who is on Russia for two days, visited the Zvezda shipbuilding complex. In a special gesture, President Putin accompanied Prime Minister Modi to the Zvezda shipyard. The two leaders hugged and shook hands before their departure for the shipyard. “During our visit, President Putin showed me cutting edge technologies at the shipyard. My visit opens up new pathways of cooperation in this important field,” Modi said after his visit to the shipbuilding complex.
At the shipyard, Modi interacted with the management and workers of the plant. Earlier this morning, Modi was warmly welcomed at Vladivostok airport on his third bilateral visit to Russia.
On September 5, Modi will attend the Eastern Economic Forum as chief guest and hold bilateral talks with several leaders on the sidelines. He and Putin will also visit an international judo championship in Vladivostok in which a six-member Indian team is participating, Gokhale said. He said a number of agreements, including in the coal mining and power sectors, are expected to be firmed up during Modi’s visit.
Before departing for Russia, Modi said he looked forward to discussing regional and international issues of mutual interest with President Putin. Modi also said his visit underlines the desire of the two countries to diversify and further strengthen bilateral relations.