This is the 4th time the leaders had direct talks since the Russia-Ukraine war began. According to the PMO, Modi reiterated India's position in favour of dialogue & diplomacy

New Delhi: Russian President Vladimir Putin called the Kyiv regime “dangerous and provocative” while on a phone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday, even as both sides discussed ways to enhance trading in agricultural goods, fertilisers and pharmaceutical products.

This is the fourth time that the two leaders have had a direct conversation since the Russia-Ukraine war began on 24 February this year. The decision to hold the latest round of talks was taken while the 23-24 June BRICS Summit was underway.

“At the request of Narendra Modi, Vladimir Putin briefed on the key aspects of the Russian special military operation, emphasising the dangerous and provocative nature of the line of the Kyiv regime and its Western patrons aimed at escalating the crisis and disrupting efforts to resolve it politically and diplomatically,” said a readout by the Kremlin.

During the call, both leaders “expressed mutual intention for the comprehensive strengthening of the special and privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India”, according to the Kremlin.

Both New Delhi and Moscow reviewed the implementation of the decisions taken during Putin’s visit to India in December 2021, during which a 99-point joint statement was issued on matters ranging from economy to energy to military cooperation.

“In the context of the ongoing situation in Ukraine, the Prime Minister reiterated India’s long-standing position in favour of dialogue and diplomacy,” said a statement issued by the prime minister’s office (PMO).

According to Moscow, both Putin and Modi discussed “in detail topical issues of the Russian-Indian relations, paying special attention to the further development of mutually beneficial ties in the economic sphere”.

India has come under much fire from the West, especially Europe, for purchasing oil from Russia even as New Delhi has been asked consistently to support the economic sanctions.

‘Significant Increase In The Volume of Bilateral Trade’

The Kremlin said both sides mostly focussed their talks on the rise in two-way trade between India and Russia across a wide range of products, especially enhancing trade in agricultural goods, fertilisers and pharmaceutical products.

The PMO statement said both Modi and Putin “exchanged ideas on how bilateral trade in agricultural goods, fertilisers and pharma products could be encouraged further”.

“A significant increase in the volume of bilateral trade, including mutual deliveries of agricultural products, was noted with satisfaction,” said Moscow.

It also said: “The current state of affairs in the global food market was touched upon as well. Vladimir Putin drew attention to the systemic mistakes made by a number of states, which led to the disruption of the entire architecture of the free trade of food products and provoked a significant increase of their cost.”

The two leaders also discussed the impact of the western sanctions on Russia in the wake of the war.

The European Union is reportedly exploring ways to impose a rigorous ban on Russian gold under a brand new package of sanctions, even as the bloc continues to work out ways in which it can stop buying Russian gas. However, so far it has been unsuccessful.

“Illegitimate sanctions against Russia have exacerbated an already difficult situation. The same factors had a negative impact on the global energy market. At the same time, the Russian leader stressed that Russia has been and remains a reliable producer and supplier of grain, fertilisers and energy carriers, including to the Indian partners,” said Kremlin.

Many international brands have also been winding up their businesses in Moscow in the wake of the war that has been going on for over four months. These include McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Marks & Spencer.