Indian PM Narendra Modi refuses annual face-to-face meeting with Putin

Image of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Credit: Frederic Legrand - COMEO/Shutterstock.com

It has been reported that Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India has refused to stage his traditional annual with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

 

Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India has reportedly refused to conduct the traditional personal meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This was reported today, Friday, December 9 by both Bloomberg and Reuters news agencies, and published in gazeta.ru.

Putin’s official spokesman in the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, subsequently told the Russian news outlet TASS that no meeting between Putin and Modi was scheduled anyway until the end of 2022.

Citing sources in the Indian government, Reuters reported that the decision not to hold the annual summit of Russian and Indian politicians was made in September after a closed meeting. According to Bloomberg, the reason for New Delhi’s refusal was ‘veiled threats’ from Moscow about the possible ‘use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine’.

However, an anonymous source for Reuters stressed that the decision not to hold a meeting between Modi and Putin was made much earlier than the ‘nuclear’ rhetoric began to sound from the Russian leadership, and this factor did not play any role.

The Russian authorities have repeatedly argued that Moscow will not be the first to use nuclear weapons. At the same time, on December 8, Vladimir Putin agreed with members of the Presidential Human Rights Council that the threat of nuclear war ‘is growing, to be honest’.

The summit of Russian and Indian politicians, which emphasises the strategic status of the two countries’ partnership, has been cancelled for the second time since 2000. It was not held for the first time in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting was postponed to next year – Putin and Modi met in New Delhi in early December 2021.

After the start of the ‘special operation’ in Ukraine, the Russian leadership repeatedly emphasised the importance of cooperation with New Delhi. India is associated with prospects for the development of Russian energy exports, which have become toxic for Western countries after the introduction of new sanctions. 

Over the past months, foreign news agencies have repeatedly reported that India has become an unofficial transit hub for oil produced in Russia. From the very beginning of the special operation in Ukraine, New Delhi refused to join the anti-Russian sanctions and did not criticise Moscow.

The BBC explained back in the spring that India refrains from criticising Moscow since it remains the largest supplier of weapons – the country receives half of its weapons from Russia, including the S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, which are critical for strategic defence against China and Pakistan.

American publications wrote that the neutral position of New Delhi and the refusal to condemn Moscow for actions in Ukraine are based not only on many years of economic cooperation but also on respect for Russia.

Before that, Moscow had repeatedly taken the Indian side in the international discussion of regional problems. In particular, the Russian Federation previously vetoed UN Security Council resolutions on the disputed region of Kashmir.

However, India at the UN meetings, although it refrained from making critical statements about Russia, repeatedly called on Moscow and Kyiv to sit down at the negotiating table and end the conflict peacefully. 

At the SCO summit in Samarkand in September, Narendra Modi, during a personal meeting with Vladimir Putin, said that ‘the current era is not an era of war’ and added that peace can only be achieved through democracy, diplomacy, and dialogue.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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