India, Russia to fast-track nuclear cooperation

Infusing a new burst of vitality in their time-tested relationship, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin agreed to accelerate civil nuclear energy cooperation between the two nations. The two also discussed mechanisms to jointly produce cutting-edge weaponry that could take their decades-old military relationship to a new level.

The meeting, which began shortly after Mr Modi arrived in the Russian city of Ufa on a three-day visit to participate in the BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, lasted for about 90 minutes.

The meeting saw the two leaders take a big-picture view of their relationship across the spectrum.

Mr Modi and Mr Putin discussed ways to develop their special strategic partnership, and exchanged views on critical global issues, including the current situation in Afghanistan and the influence of the Islamic State militant groups in the region. In addition, India’s prime minister also raised the issue of Pakistan supporting terrorism, while his Russian counterpart briefly outlined Moscow’s view on the current situation in Ukraine.

During his meeting with Mr Putin, the Indian prime minister announced his visit to Russia later this year for the annual bilateral summit meeting. He talked about the close relations the two countries have long enjoyed, and said, “It is very special to be in Russia, a nation whose remarkable friendship with India has always been known.”

Mr Modi thanked the Russian leader for his vigorous support for India’s full membership of the SCO. The process of India acquiring full membership will be formally announced at the SCO summit in Ufa.

Mr Modi will participate in the BRICS and SCO summits in Ufa, the capital of Russia’s Bashkortostan Republic, to be held over the next two days.

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