President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, my friend. To my Indian friends, I would like to welcome you all once again.
Mr Prime Minister,
First of all, I want to start our meeting by personally congratulating you and the entire friendly nation of India on the holiday you celebrated last month: I mean the 75th anniversary of independence of the Republic of India. I wish India all the best.
I also know that tomorrow is your birthday, my dear friend. According to Russian tradition, you are not supposed to wish anyone an early happy birthday, therefore I can’t do it, but I would like you to know that we remembered, we know about it and wish you all the best anyway, to you as well as to the people of India; we wish prosperity to the friendly country of India that you lead.
Bilateral relations can be characterised as a privileged strategic partnership, and they continue to develop actively. We are actively cooperating on international platforms and discussing all global developments, including unfavourable ones at times.
I know your position on the conflict in Ukraine and the concerns that you constantly express. We will do our best to make it stop as soon as possible. However, unfortunately, the opposing side, the leadership of Ukraine, announced that it was abandoning the negotiation process and declared that it wants to achieve its goals by military means, “on the battlefield,” as they say. Nevertheless, we will always keep you informed of what is happening there.
We are actively working at the SCO, and today’s summit of the SCO heads of state, which I believe was very successful, is the best proof of it. It is important that we constantly coordinate our positions despite coronavirus-related restrictions: we had telephone conversations four times, and our staff are always in touch.
I would like to thank you for your video greetings for the participants of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.
I fondly recall my own visit to New Delhi last December and my fruitful talks with you. I would like to use this occasion to invite you to visit Russia.
Clearly, constructive relations are developing in the economic sphere. Trade is growing, including due to additional deliveries of Russian fertilisers to the Indian market, as you asked. The volume of fertilisers delivered from Russia to India increased by more than eight times – not by some percentage, but by more than eight times. I hope that this will help Indian farmers to manage the difficult challenge of providing food for the country’s population.
Large joint projects in the oil and gas sector and in the nuclear power industry are being consistently implemented. For Russians, the rich history and ancient culture of India are traditionally of great interest, and in this regard, we propose intensifying the talks on an agreement on visa-free tourist travel. We could also think about holding cross years of Russia and India in 2024.
Prime Minister of the Republic of India Narendra Modi (retranslated): Your Excellency, I am very glad to have an opportunity to meet with you again today. We had a chance to talk when we saw each other last time in December, during your visit to New Delhi, where we discussed a wide range of issues. And, as you said, since then we have had several telephone conversations.
Besides bilateral cooperation between Russia and India, we also discussed various global issues. We are meeting again today. Indeed, food security, energy security, and the availability of fertilisers are a major concern, especially for developing countries. Without a doubt, we need to find a solution to all these issues, and in particular, we both need to plan initiatives to this end. These issues have already been discussed today.
Your Excellency, I want to express my gratitude to both Russia and Ukraine, because when the crisis began, at first thousands of Indian students were trapped in Ukraine, but thanks to the support we received from both Russia and Ukraine, we were able to ensure the safe return of Indian students. I am grateful to both countries.
I know that now is not an age of wars. We have spoken about this many times, in particular in our telephone conversations. Democracy, diplomacy, and dialogue are important tools for us to find solutions. It is necessary to achieve peace in the future, and I am sure that we can discuss this. I welcome the opportunity to better understand your point of view.
Relations between Russia and India have significantly improved. We believe they are extremely important. We are friends, and for decades we have always stood shoulder to shoulder. The whole world is aware of the nature of Russian-Indian relations, and the world also knows the deep friendship, in particular the personal friendly ties that bind us. We first met in 2001 when I was in state government in India, and our friendship has only grown stronger ever since. In the interests of the well-being of this region, our peoples and citizens, we are once again making efforts today, in particular within the framework of the SCO summit. Thank you for the support you have shown India.
Bilateral relations, which we will also discuss today, mean that our relations will only improve and strengthen in the future, which is also useful for the whole world.
Let me once again thank you for finding time for this meeting.