Russian President Vladimir Putin calls PM Modi, discusses key strategic issues wishes success in Lok Sabha polls

File photo: PM Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photograph:( AFP )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 07, 2019, 06.49 PM (IST) Siddhant Sibal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a telephonic conversation on Monday during which both exchanged greeting for the new year 2019, with PM Modi wishing President Putin and people of Russia on the occasion of Christmas. Christmas is celebrated in Russia on January 7. 

Vladimir Putin wished Narendra Modi success in connection with the upcoming parliamentary elections in India. 

Putin also invited PM to take part in the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in September 2019 as the main guest.

According to the ministry of external affairs release, "the two leaders appreciated the major milestones achieved in the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between the two countries in the past year". 

Both the leaders recalled the "successful wide-ranging discussions" during the informal summit in Sochi in May of 2018 and during President Putin's visit to New Delhi in October for the Annual Summit with both agreeing "to maintain the momentum in the bilateral relations". This year, Russia will host the annual summit.

The leaders discussed bilateral cooperation in the key areas including defence and counter-terrorism and agreed that India-Russia cooperation "plays an important role in the global multilateral order."  

Remember roughly 70% of India's defence equipment is Russian in origin. During the 17th Annual Summit, the sides concluded agreements on the supply of S-400 air defence systems, construction of frigates under Project 1135.6 and shareholders agreement on the formation of joint venture to manufacture Ka-226T helicopters in India. The two countries also hold exchanges and training exercises between their armed forces annually. 

Russia and India have been engaging in various forums such as SCO, BRICS and G20. On the sidelines of G20 in 2018, Russia, India and China met for the RIC meet which happened after a gap of 12 years. 

According to Russian Federal Customs Service data, bilateral trade during in 2016 amounted to US$ 7.71 billion, with Indian exports amounting to US$ 2.39 billion and imports from Russia amounting to US$ 5.32 billion. 

Both are also focusing on connectivity via the International North-South Transport Corridor that will connect Mumbai to Moscow.