Modi hugs Putin, takes golf cart ride, tea at Putin’s residence

PM Modi, accompanied by Putin and two delegates seated behind, was chauffeured around for an informal engagement. After meeting with the Indian community in Moscow, Modi had an informal gathering with Putin, where they enjoyed tea on a terrace, took a golf cart ride, and visited the stables.

| Updated: 09 July, 2024 1:43 pm IST

NEW DELHI: A video of Prime Minister Narendra Modi riding in a golf cart driven by Russian President Vladimir Putin has gone viral on social media. The footage captures the leaders during an informal meeting at Putin’s residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, near Moscow, on Monday.

PM Modi, accompanied by Putin and two delegates seated behind, was chauffeured around for an informal engagement. After meeting with the Indian community in Moscow, Modi had an informal gathering with Putin, where they enjoyed tea on a terrace, took a golf cart ride, and visited the stables.

Expressing his delight, PM Modi described the visit as a “moment of joy” to Putin. He later posted on X, “Looking forward to our talks tomorrow as well, which will surely go a long way in further cementing the bonds of friendship between India and Russia,” along with a photo of the leaders hugging.

 

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According to Russian news agency TASS, Putin personally guided Modi around his residence and gave him a tour in a golf cart. “The Russian leader showed his Indian guest around the residence and gave him a drive in an electric car. Most of the time they spoke via interpreters. However, when they left the car and were walking to the garden they had a brief tete-a-tete conversation, probably in English.”

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) described the event as a “meeting of two close friends and trusted partners.” The MEA’s post on X included snapshots of the occasion, stating, “PM @narendramodi welcomed by President Vladimir Putin of Russia at his official residence at Novo-Ogaryovo for a private engagement.”

Modi’s visit to Moscow, primarily focused on summit talks with Putin, holds significant geopolitical implications. The leaders will hold wide-ranging discussions at the 22nd India-Russia annual summit on Tuesday, amid broader geopolitical tensions from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

This visit marks Modi’s first trip to Russia since Moscow’s military actions in Ukraine and his reelection following the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Modi last visited Russia in 2019.

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One significant outcome of the informal meeting was the decision to free Indian nationals working in the Russian Army. India has been addressing the issue of its citizens being duped in Russia with false job or educational prospects, only to find themselves on the battlefield.


Moscow remains a key supplier of cut-price oil and weapons to India, despite its isolation from the West and growing ties with Beijing. However, the conflict with Ukraine has stretched Russia’s arms supplies thin, pushing India to seek other sources, including developing its defence industry.

India has also become a major buyer of Russian oil, benefiting from lower prices. According to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, India’s imports of Russian crude increased by eight percent in May, reaching the highest levels since July 2023. This shift has resulted in India’s trade deficit with Russia rising to over $57 billion in the past financial year.

 

From Russia, PM Modi will travel to Vienna, marking the first visit to the Austrian capital by an Indian leader since Indira Gandhi in 1983.

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