Referring to the Lok Sabha election due next year, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wished “our friends every success” and stressed that “traditional conventional friendly ties” will persist between New Delhi and Moscow “no matter what the alignment of political forces” is.
Putin, who made the remarks during a meeting with External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar, extended an invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Russia.
He also said he had spoken to the Prime Minister on the developments in Ukraine. “Many times, I advised him of how things have been going there and I know that he (PM Modi) is willing to do his utmost so that the issue is resolved by peaceful means,” he said, indicating that India will Russia will continue to discuss the issue.
The Russian President said Moscow is “gratified to note that despite all the turmoil happening worldwide, the relationship with our true friend in Asia, India has been progressing incrementally”.
“Definitely, we will be glad to see our dear friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, paying a visit to Russia, we will be able to discuss all the relevant, current issues and talk to the prospects of the Russian and Indian relationship,” he said.
The Russian president asked Dr Jaishankar to convey his greetings to the Prime Minister. “And please, tell him that we want to see him,” he said. Putin, however, noted that India will have a “busy political schedule” next year. “The general elections in parliament are scheduled for next year. We wish our friends every success in that and we hope that… anyway, no matter what the alignment of political forces would be, the traditional conventional friendly ties will persist between our nations,” the Russian President said.
Since the beginning of the Ukraine conflict, India has maintained that the resolution needs to be found through dialogue. New Delhi has spoken to, and met, Putin as well as Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and discussed the conflict. In his meeting with the Ukraine President earlier this year, Prime Minister Modi said India will do whatever it can to resolve the conflict. During a meeting with Putin in Samarkand in 2021, the Prime Minister told him this is “not an era of war”.
India has also resisted pressure from the West to join the camp against Moscow. Despite global criticism, India continued to buy Russian oil after the West brought sanctions against Moscow for invading Ukraine. In an interview to NDTV, Dr Jaishankar had said the Prime Minister told him to “do whatever is needed for the benefit of the country”.
“We must build relations with the world. But when it comes to what benefits us, we should not back down. I should not expose our people to fuel inflation if I can find a way. The Prime Minister had said, ‘take a stand that benefits India’. We did that,” the minister said.