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Putin ally meets India's Modi in New Delhi

Mar 29, 2023, 09:00 pm

A close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Wednesday to discuss the two countries' "mutual interests", Russian news agencies reported.

Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia's influential Security Council, was in India for a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a regional group which brings together Russia, India, China and a number of states from across central Asia.

Since it invaded Ukraine, Russia has stepped up its diplomatic efforts to boost the influence of non-Western geopolitical blocs and forums across Asia as an alternative to what it says are attempts by the United States and its NATO allies to dominate the region.

While India has called for peace in Ukraine, it has benefited from the war's fallout for global energy prices by snapping up oil that Russia has been forced to sell at a discount because of Western sanctions. Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Tuesday that Russian oil sales to India jumped 22-fold last year.

Patrushev and Modi discussed "issues of Russian-Indian bilateral cooperation and mutual interest," Russia's Security Council said in a readout cited by Russian news agencies after the meeting, without providing further details.

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