Modi arrives in Russia, meets Putin (Intro Roundup)

Moscow, Dec 23 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Russian President Vladimir after arriving here on Wednesday evening on a two-day visit during which the two leaders will participate in the 16th India-Russia annual summit.

Putin hosted Modi for a private dinner ahead of Thursday’s hectic schedule of engagements between the two countries.

“Building Druzhba-Dosti over dinner. President Putin @KremlinRussia_E hosts a private tete-a-tete for PM @narendramodi,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted.

Earlier, after alighting from the aircraft, Modi was welcomed with a ceremonial guard of honour at the airport.

“Cold and rain no obstacles for a red carpet welcome for PM,” Swarup said in another tweet.

This is Modi’s first bilateral visit to Russia. The two leaders last had a formal interaction at the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit in Ufa city of Russia, in July.

During this visit, a raft of agreements spanning a broad spectrum of sectors are expected to be signed following summit-level talks on Thursday between the two countries with trade being a major focus area.

Modi and Putin are scheduled to meet a delegation of Indian and Russian CEOs in the Kremlin.

Modi will address a gathering of Friends of India and also meet members of the Indian community in Russia.

The prime minister’s itinerary includes a visit to Russia’s National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC) in Moscow on Thursday.

The NCMC is a multi-level coordination centre designed to provide inter-agency coordination and alert the people about the threat of emergency situations. The capabilities of the NCMC include state-of-art real time monitoring, data collection, analysis and modelling.

In a pre-departure statement, Modi said he was very optimistic about his visit.

“History is witness to the close ties India and Russia have had over the decades. Russia remains one of India’s most valued friends in the world,” he stated.

“My visit will deepen the cooperation between India and Russia in the economic, energy and security spheres. We also want to increase cooperation in science and technology, mining among other sectors. Trade ties between India and Russia can increase even further, to benefit not only our two nations but also the world,” he added, ahead of departing for Russia.

He also stated there would be extensive deliberations with President Putin.

“There will be an interaction with Russian businesspersons to invite them to invest in India. I will also attend a ‘Friends of India’ programme. I am certain that this visit will substantially take forward the already strong people to people ties between our nations,” Modi added.

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