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From Gujarat CM to Prime Minister: Modi's Evolving Role in India-Russia Relations

Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims to fortify India-Russia relations further during his two-day visit to Russia, his first since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. This visit will include key discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer. Key Meetings and Energy Ties On July 8, Modi will have a private dinner with Putin, […]

PM Modi's Current Moscow Visit vs. His Historic 2001 Visit as CM
PM Modi's Current Moscow Visit vs. His Historic 2001 Visit as CM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims to fortify India-Russia relations further during his two-day visit to Russia, his first since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. This visit will include key discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer.

Key Meetings and Energy Ties

On July 8, Modi will have a private dinner with Putin, marking their first meeting since the onset of the conflict, which has strained the longstanding bond between India and Russia and pushed Russia closer to China. The visit is crucial for India as it seeks to bolster its energy ties with Russia, exploring various routes, including the Arctic, to secure energy supplies and increase investments in Russia’s energy sector. Modi and Putin’s discussions will likely center on the Ukraine war, with Modi leveraging his personal rapport with Putin to advocate for a return to negotiations and highlight the importance of ending the conflict that continues to destabilize global markets and security.

Historical Roots of India-Russia Relations

The longstanding relationship between India and Russia has deep historical roots, significantly strengthened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat. In 2019, following his discussions with President Putin at the 20th India-Russia Annual Summit, Prime Minister Modi shared photos. He reminisced about his 2001 visit to Russia as Gujarat chief minister, part of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s delegation that met President Vladimir Putin. Modi tweeted four photographs: two from the 2001 visit and two from his current trip.

Early Engagements and Protocol Pact

Modi’s first visit to Russia was on November 6, 2001, when he accompanied Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Moscow for the India-Russia Summit with President Vladimir Putin. In 2019, Prime Minister Modi fondly recalled this visit, noting that it marked his first meeting with President Putin. Despite being from a small state and relatively new to the international stage, President Putin treated him with great respect, fostering a lasting friendship.

During this visit, then-Chief Minister Modi also signed a protocol pact for cooperation between Gujarat and the Russian province of Astrakhan.

The agreement aimed to enhance collaboration in the petro and hydrocarbon sectors, trade, science and technology, education, tourism, and culture.

Strengthening Ties Through Subsequent Visits

Over the years, these ties were further strengthened through several visits. Notably, in 2006, Modi visited Astrakhan and met with Governor Alexander Zhilkin, extending the protocol pact for another five years. In 2009, he was invited to address the 4th International Energy Week and deliver a keynote at the 9th Russian Oil and Gas Week conference, impressing Russian businessmen by presenting in Russian. These engagements laid the foundation for the Gujarat-Russia partnership, particularly in the energy and petrochemical sectors.

Broader Impact on National Relations

Today, the benefits of this strong relationship extend to the entire nation, reflecting the deep and enduring ties between India and Russia.

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Gujarat-Russia partnershipIndia-Russia relationsPrime Minister Narendra ModiTDG. The Daily Guardian