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Russian President Putin, PM Modi hold phone conversation

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New Delhi, Dec 20: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday held a phone conversation covering bilateral defence cooperation, supply of fertilisers and ways to enhance India's engagement with the Russian Far Eastern region.

The talks came two weeks after Putin visited Delhi for the 21st India-Russia annual summit that witnessed the inking of 28 pacts to further broad-base the bilateral ties. "Spoke with my friend, President Putin, to follow up on our discussions during his recent visit to India. We agreed on the way forward for enhancing India-Russia cooperation, including in supply of fertilizers. We also discussed recent international developments," Modi tweeted.

Russian President Putin, PM Modi hold phone conversation

Moscow, in a readout, said the two leaders exchanged views on issues of international stability and security, including the situation in the Asia-Pacific region. Russia often refers to the Indo-Pacific region as Asia-Pacific. A statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said the two leaders followed up on some of the issues discussed during Putin's recent visit to India.

"The exchange today helped firm up the future course of action on these issues, including opportunities for furthering defence cooperation, cooperation in the supply of fertilisers, enhancement of India's engagement with the Russian Far East. The conversation also allowed an exchange of views on international issues," it said. India has been showing interest in deepening cooperation with Russia's Far East.

The statement said the leaders agreed to remain in regular touch on all aspects covered under the India-Russia Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership and to continuously strive to further deepen bilateral cooperation as well as consultation and coordination in multilateral fora. The Russian readout said Putin "warmly thanked" Modi for the hospitality extended to the Russian delegation during the visit to New Delhi on December 6.

"They discussed practical aspects of implementing the agreements reached at the talks and expressed mutual intent for the further multifaceted development of relations of the special and privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India," it said. It said Modi and Putin continued the exchange of views on "issues of international stability and security, including the situation in the Asia-Pacific region".

"The Russian President and Prime Minister of India congratulated each other on the upcoming New Year holidays. It was agreed to intensify bilateral contacts in various spheres," the statement said. Last week, a Russian media report said a summit of the top leaders of Russia, India and China under a trilateral framework may take place in the near future. Russian news agency TASS, quoting a Kremlin official, said holding of the RIC (Russia-India-China) summit figured during a recent video conference between President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

When asked about the report, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had told reporters that he was not in a position to comment on it. At the 21st India-Russia summit, the two sides had vowed to ramp up cooperation in confronting major challenges such as terrorism, radicalism and in dealing with the situation in Afghanistan. Largely the areas of focus for stepping up cooperation included defence and military, civil nuclear energy, space, transport and connectivity, energy, trade and health. PTI

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