India’s Modi to visit Moscow soon, Russian state media says

By Rhea Mogul and Mariya Knight, CNN

CNN  —  Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Russia for the first time since the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, in a trip that highlights the growing ties between the two countries despite New Delhi’s close relationship with Washington.

Preparations are being made for Modi’s visit to Moscow and dates will be announced soon, Kremlin spokesperson Yuri Ushakov said, according to Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency.

“I can confirm that we are preparing a visit by the Prime Minister of India,” he said, according to TASS. “I can’t say about the dates yet, because the dates are announced by the parties in agreement. But we are actively preparing. And this visit will happen.”

CNN has contacted India’s Ministry of External Affairs for comment.

The upcoming trip will be Modi’s first to the country since 2019 and comes less than a month after he was narrowly re-elected as prime minister during a weekslong vote.

Modi last met Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan in 2022, where he told the leader that today’s era is “not of war”. Putin also visited New Delhi just months before his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

India’s ties with Russia date back decades to the Cold War and have remained strong despite repeated sanctions on Moscow from Western governments.

New Delhi has repeatedly abstained from votes condemning Russia at the United Nations and has avoided public criticism of Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

India remains heavily reliant on the Kremlin for its military equipment – a vital link given India’s ongoing tensions at its shared Himalayan border with China – and has ramped up purchases of discounted Russian crude oil, giving Putin’s nation a major financial lifeline as it faces global isolation.

At the same time, India’s ties with the United States have grown stronger, amid shared concerns over China’s assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.

Modi met with US President Joe Biden during a state visit to Washington last June, in a trip further cementing their defense, trade and technology partnership. The Indian leader also addressed Congress during that trip, an honor typically reserved for close US allies and partners, and attended a lavish state dinner.

Later that year, Putin did not attend the Group of 20 leaders’ summit in New Delhi, during which leaders delivered a consensus statement criticizing his invasion of Ukraine.

India is a member of the Quad security grouping with the US, Japan and Australia and also has a seat at the table of two Moscow-friendly groupings, the SCO and the BRICS bloc, which includes Russia and China.

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