Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha
Moscow: Even as the temperature in Moscow plummeted to near-freezing, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is on a two-day trip to Russia, felt a special warmth due to an exceptional effort put in by Russian President Vladimir Putin in choosing gifts for him.
What overshadowed the routine bilateral talk between the two countries, were the three unique gifts, personally chosen by President Putin, who bothered to delve deep into the history of India-Russia ties.
The three gifts that reportedly took even some Russian officials by surprise were a painting of Russian Czar Nicholas II, depicting the details of his travails to India way back in 1890-91, a map of India belonging to 16th century and a coin dating back to Mughal era.
Indian Ambassador Ajai Malhotra told reporters at a briefing that the gifts were personally chosen by Putin and reflected the historic importance of India-Russia ties.
The lithograph painting of Nicholas II depicted the Russian Czar with an Indian Maharaja, stressing on the royal connect between the two nations, much before India and Russia established diplomatic relations.
Nicholas II travelled to over two dozens of Indian cities and met the Maharajas of India in 1890-91, while he was still a prince.
Nicholas II was the Czar of Russia from 1894 to 1917, when he had to abdicate after the revolution.
Earlier in the day, Dr Mamohan Singh was also felicitated with an honorary doctorate by the Moscow Institute of International relations.
Overwhelmed by the uniwue gesture, the Prime Minister said, "I am touched by your gesture and this reflects our historic and age-old ties."
Your gesture today is yet another indication of the abiding affection of the Russian people for India and the strength of relations between our two countries, which I have experienced personally in many decades of public life," Dr Singh said.