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PM Modi, Russian President Putin hold telephonic conversation, discuss bilateral ties, G20 Summit

The Prime Minister thanked Vladimir Putin for Russia's consistent support to all initiatives under India's presidency of the G20 and both leaders agreed to remain in touch.

Reported By : Devendra Parashar, Manish Prasad Edited By : Aveek Banerjee
New Delhi
Updated on: August 29, 2023 6:18 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir
Image Source : AP Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a telephonic conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin where both leaders reviewed the progress on several issues of bilateral cooperation.

According to an official release, the two leaders exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual concern, including the recently-concluded BRICS Summit in South Africa's Johannesburg. Putin also conveyed his inability to attend the G20 Summit scheduled in New Delhi on September 9 and 10 and informed PM Modi that Russia will be represented by its Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

PM Modi also thanked Putin for Russia's consistent support to all initiatives under India's presidency of the G20 and both leaders agreed to remain in touch.

Leaders discussed space exploration, strategic partnership

Putin again conveyed his congratulations to PM Modi on the successful landing of the India's Chandrayaan-3 on the Moon near its South Pole. The leaders reaffirmed the willingness to further develop bilateral cooperation in the space exploration, said the Kremlin in a statement.

The results of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg were discussed during the conversation. The significance of the agreements in the Summit, primarily the expansion of BRICS, which will contribute to the growth of its influence in international affairs, was emphasised.

The sides also agreed on close interaction in the context of Russia's BRICS chairmanship starting next year. An exchange of views was also held with regard to the upcoming G20 summit in New Delhi, said the Kremlin.

Certain topical issues related to Russian-Indian relations, steadily developing in the spirit of the special and privileged strategic partnership, were touched upon in the telephonic conversations. The leaders also underscored positive dynamics of trade and economic cooperation between the countries. They also expressed a mutual commitment to the consistent implementation of large-scale projects in the energy sector and joint work on expansion of international transport and logistics infrastructure.

The summit is scheduled for September 9 and 10 in the newly inaugurated ITPO complex in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

"Putin is not planning a trip to the G20 summit in India, which will be held in September," Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on August 25. According to the Kremlin, Putin's main emphasis now is the ongoing war which Moscow dubbed a "special military operation."

Why is Putin not attending the summit?

Although the Kremlin cites ongoing "war" as a reason for his absence, it was obvious his decision to skip the event was motivated by the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his alleged atrocities against children and women in Kyiv - as with the BRICS Summit in South Africa.

Notably, ICC issued a warrant in March this year following a report from a United Nations-backed inquiry that revealed Russia's attacks against civilians in Ukraine, including systematic torture and killing in occupied regions, which the court considers as amount to war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity. 

It is worth mentioning India is not a member state of the ICC and has never signed its core treaty, the 'Rome Statute', which means there wouldn't have been any trouble for Putin if he had confirmed his attendance for the event. But, this may put India under pressure.

Putin's decision will cast a shadow on G20 Summit  

Notably, the surprising announcement from the Kremlin came a day after President Putin attended the crucial BRICS Summit virtually and instead sent his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to South Africa's national capital Johannesburg, where the leaders of Brazil, India, and China attended the mega event in person with the host South Africa. 

Currently, India's capital has been donning multi-coloured lights and artists are busy designing the finest illustrations on the walls alongside the route of the mega event, Russia's decision to skip the event may cast a shadow on one of its top defence exporters amid the fact the whole world has been eyeing on the much-anticipated meeting which will witness the attendance of US President Joe Biden, his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and several other leaders.

ALSO READ | 'Vladimir Putin will not attend G20 summit in Delhi in September', says Kremlin

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