Putin rings up PM Modi, explains inability to attend G20 summit in person | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Putin rings up PM Modi, explains inability to attend G20 summit in person

Aug 28, 2023 08:30 PM IST

President Vladimir Putin informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Russia will be represented at the G20 Summit in New Delhi by foreign minister Sergey Lavrov

Russian President Vladimir Putin telephoned Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday to explain his decision not to attend next month’s G20 Summit in-person, and the two leaders discussed cooperation in areas ranging from space to trade and expansion of Brics.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AFP File Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. (AFP File Photo)

Putin informed Modi of his inability to attend the G20 Summit in New Delhi during September 9-10 and said Russia will be represented at the meeting by foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, according to a statement from the external affairs ministry.

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Modi expressed understanding for the decision during the phone conversation, and thanked Putin for “Russia’s consistent support to all initiatives under India’s G20 presidency”, the statement said.

This was the first contact between the two leaders since Moscow announced on August 25 that Putin wouldn’t attend the G20 Summit in-person because of a “busy schedule” and the focus on the “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused sharp divisions within the G20, especially on the issue of text to refer to the crisis in outcome documents.

The statement said Modi and Putin reviewed progress in a number of issues of bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on regional and global issues, including the recent Brics (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) Summit in Johannesburg. “The two leaders agreed to remain in touch,” it said.

A readout on the conversation from the Kremlin said the two leaders had an exchange of views on the upcoming G20 Summit but made no reference to Putin’s decision not to attend the meeting.

The readout said the significance of the agreements at the Brics Summit was emphasised, “primarily the expansion of Brics, which will undoubtedly contribute to the growth of its influence in international affairs”.

The two sides agreed on close interaction in the context of Russia’s chairmanship of Brics from January 2024, the readout added.

Putin also congratulated Modi on the successful landing of India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission near the South Pole of the moon. “They reaffirmed the willingness to further develop bilateral cooperation in space exploration,” the readout said.

“Topical issues of Russian-Indian relations, steadily developing in the spirit of the special and privileged strategic partnership, were touched upon. The positive dynamics of trade and economic cooperation was underscored,” the readout further said.

“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 was expressed,” it added.

Though the readout didn’t give details, Russia is building India’s largest nuclear power plant at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu. The two countries are also cooperating in the International North-South Transport Corridor, with Iran’s Chabahar port as a key part of it.

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