New Delhi: Union Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi on Thursday said that India and Russia share very close cultural ties and people-to-people connect.

She made the remarks after attending the musical "The Russian Miracle" organised by the Russian Embassy in Delhi.

In an interview with ANI, Lekhi said, "We had a very nice group from St Petersburg. St Petersburg is having a cultural festival later in the year and the Moroshka was the group which is here, and they performed, such beautiful numbers, including Naatu Naatu, and very, very nice, music, dance, and, festivity."

She further said, "We share very close cultural ties and people-to-people connect, for even before India became independent in modern times and since ancient times, actually. A whole lot of their folklore and folk literature talks about, their connections with, India. And, including the fact that Indian merchants were living in one of the regions."

Meenakshi Lekhi said that the common thing between Russia and India is consistency of ties which has stayed on despite all the challenges.

"We have ancient ties, medieval ties and modern ties and the only common thing between India and Russia is the consistency of relationship which has stayed on, in spite of all the challenges. And that's what we are celebrating and culture connects, culture connects, culture makes people easy and helps us understand each other better. So that's what the entire, performance was all about," she said.

Asked about India-Russia ties amid the global crisis, Meenakshi Lekhi said, "I have said consistency is the key to the relationship, which, is proven by the history of the world and the two countries."

Taking to X, formerly known as Twitter, Meenakshi Lekhi stated, "Attended the musical "The Russian Miracle" organised by the Russian Embassy in New Delhi. Extensive people-to-people ties and rich cultural exchanges are among the strongest pillars of India-Russia ties."

Meanwhile, St Petersburg Governor Vladmir Kniaginin said, "Our countries is continuously growing and for St. Petersburg, India is becoming key economic partners. So we wanted to add to our existing economic ties, cultural ties, research, exchange, people exchange and share our tourist flows."

Speaking to ANI, Vladmir Kniaginin emphasised that the trade turnover between St Petersburg and India has doubled in the last year and the trade is growing in record numbers.

He said, "Last year, the turnover between St Petersburg and India practically doubled. The growth was 92 per cent. If we're talking about the first six months of this month in comparison to the previous year, which was already record high, it increased at least five times."