Modi, Putin hold informal talks; Vajpayee invoked. Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes PM Narendra Modi in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, on Monday

In a bid to arrest perceptible drift in relations amid global turmoil, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday held an “informal setting” meet at Sochi on the Black Sea coast.

PM Modi, who reached in the morning, embraced Putin upon arrival at Bochkarev Creek. The two held restricted talks first with NSA Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale on the Indian side.

According to sources, a host of issues, including strain in ties between the US and Russia, and possible US sanctions on New Delhi for dealing with Russian military firms blacklisted by Washington DC also figured in talks.

PM Modi emphasised that the seed of strategic partnership between India and Russia were sown during the Vajpayee-Putin meeting in 2001. “Now we have added a new chapter of an informal summit.... We have had free consultations on bilateral issues to global developments,” said PM Modi.

He later said friendship between India and Russia had “stood the test of time” and their ties would continue to “scale newer heights” in the coming years.

PM Modi will have an opportunity to meet Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping again during the upcoming SCO and BRICS summits following informal meetings with the two in Wuhan and Sochi.

Highlighting the old military ties, Putin said: “Russia and India have been cooperating on several fronts on the multilateral and the international fora.”