PM Modi, who is on a two-day visit to Russia, met President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday and discussed a host of issues. The two leaders spoke on Kashmir and ways to strengthen cooperation in trade and investment, oil and gas, defence, transport infrastructure, people-to-people ties, space, as well as maritime connectivity and nuclear energy. PM Modi who will also attend the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) is the first Indian prime minister to visit the Russian Far East Region.
Here's a lowdown of what PM Modi and President Putin discussed during the meet:
1. Kashmir - PM Modi and President Putin reiterated that Kashmir is India's internal matter. In a joint press meet with Putin after their talks, PM Modi said, "We both are against outside influence in the internal matters of any nation." Russia also backed India's move on Jammu and Kashmir and said that the changes in the status are within the framework of the Indian constitution.
2. Maritime route - The Prime Minister said that a proposal has been made to have a full fledged maritime route between Chennai and Vladivostok. India and Russia signed a Memorandum of Intent on the development of maritime communications between Chennai and Vladivostok.
3. Nuclear energy - Prime Minister Modi said that India and Russia are developing a "true partnership" in the field of nuclear energy. "Due to the increasing localisation of nuclear plants being formed with the cooperation of Russia in India, we are also developing a true partnership in this field," he said. President Putin said the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is the flagship joint project. "The first two units are already operational. Work for the third and fourth units are going as per schedule," he said.
4. Space exploration - Russia will help train Indian astronauts for the manned space mission, aka the Gaganyaan project.
5. Military - Underlining the cooperation between India and Russia in technical and military areas, Putin said, "We are successfully implementing our bilateral programme on military and technical cooperation up to 2020. We are working to update it to extend to another 10 years." PM Modi also said that he shared a "special chemistry" with the Russian President and is keen on technology transfers so that the two sides can make military equipment in India at cheaper rates for export to third countries. "Today, provided that technologies are transferred, the production of military equipment can be cheap in India. And we will be able to supply these weapons to third countries at very low prices. India and Russia need to take advantage of this opportunity," he added.
6. Trade - President Putin said India is one of the key partners of Russia and the relationship between the two states is of "strategic and special privileged nature". "We placed our priorities on trade and investment cooperation last year. Our bilateral trade grew by almost 17 per cent and mounted to USD 11 billion. There is every condition that it will grow further up," he said. President Putin also said it was common goal of the two sides to reach an agreement to establish a free trade area between India and the Eurasian economic union.
The prime minister also said he is ready to make efforts to ensure that the EEF will help boost and expand economic relations between India and Russia.
7. Shipbuilding - PM Modi visited Zvezda shipbuilding complex along with President Putin on Wednesday. President Putin showed him the cutting edge technologies at the shipyard, where the two leaders interacted with the management and workers of the plant. In the future, the ships built at that shipyard "will be used to deliver Russian oil and liquefied natural gas to world markets, including India," President Putin's aide Yuri Ushakov was quoted as saying by Tass news agency. The Zvezda shipyard is being set up on the base of the Far Eastern Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Center by a consortium of Rosneft, Rosneftegaz and Gazprombank. The shipyard will produce heavy tonnage ships, offshore platform elements, ice-class vessels, special vessels, and other marine equipment.
PM Modi expressed his gratitude to President Putin and people of Russia for conferring Russia's highest civilian award on him. "This demonstrates the friendly relations between the people of our two countries. It's a matter of honour for the 1.3 billion Indians," he said. PM Modi was awarded the 'Order of St Andrew the Apostle' award by Russia in April for his services in promoting bilateral ties between the two countries. The award is the highest state decoration of Russia.