Moscow: Russia is a strong and reliable friend of India and both countries have a "truly strategic" partnership, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday told President Vladimir Putin at the annual summit talks as the two sides negotiated major deals in defence, energy and other key areas.
Modi, who is on a two-day visit here, conveyed to Putin that their summit talks will give a fresh impetus to the bilateral relations as it will provide "new energy" to further strengthen ties.
As part of the 16th annual India-Russia Summit, Modi and Putin held a one-on-one meeting before they were joined by their respective delegations. The two sides continued their deliberations over lunch at the Kremlin.
"India and Russia have a long history of cultural relations. And now we have a strong and reliable friend on the political and international arena - Russia. Russia has always been with us in hard times. We have a strategic partnership, a true strategic partnership," Modi said.
Putin, in his opening remarks during his meeting with Modi, said, "I am pleased to note, and I am happy to do that, that we are consistently and confidently developing the privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia."
The bilateral relations were developing in all directions -- in international politics, economy and the humanitarian area, he was quoted as saying by the state-run TASS news agency. Ways to expand economic cooperation between the two countries were also explored in the meeting with both countries aiming to take the current bilateral annual trade of USD 10 billion to USD 30 billion in the next 10 years.
The Prime Minister also mentioned about death of a Russian pilot in downing of a Russian plane on the Syrian border. Modi also expressed condolence over the death of Russian citizens in a plane crash in Egypt in October.
"I would like to express my condolences in connection with the recent developments in Egypt and Turkey, when a Russian pilot and innocent Russian citizens died. This was a great tragedy and the entire people of India were with Russia during these difficult moments," he said.
"Despite the various global problems, despite the confrontation against Russia, you have raised your country, your state to a qualitatively new level. Russia proudly moves along its own development path and I commend you personal leadership in this process," Modi was quoted as saying by Kremlin.
He also mentioned about Atal Bihari Vajpayee under whose prime ministership the tradition of annual summits between the two countries was "born".
"These annual summits have raised Indian-Russian relations to a new level." Putin, on his part, expressed happiness over two countries going ahead "consistently and confidently" in developing the privileged strategic partnership.