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Kremlin Prepares for Indian PM Modi’s First Visit Amid Ukraine Conflict

The Kremlin announced it is preparing for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to Russia, though no specific date has been provided. This visit would be Modi’s first since Russia initiated its full-scale military offensive in Ukraine over two years ago, an event that has strained Moscow-New Delhi relations.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed the preparations and mentioned that further information would be shared in due time, following reports from Indian and Russian media about a possible early July visit.

The relationship between Russia and India has become more complex due to the Ukraine conflict. During a September 2022 meeting in Uzbekistan, Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged Modi’s concerns about the ongoing conflict and Modi’s desire for a swift resolution. Despite the tensions, Putin views Modi and India as potential diplomatic and economic allies, which makes Modi’s visit particularly significant.

Kremlin Prepares for Indian PM Modi's First Visit Amid Ukraine Conflict

Kremlin Prepares for Indian PM Modi’s First Visit Amid Ukraine Conflict

India has faced challenges regarding its citizens who were involved in “support jobs” with the Russian army, with reports of some being stranded and forced to fight in Ukraine. The Indian government has been pushing Russia for the release of these individuals and has urged its citizens to avoid getting involved in the conflict. This stance highlights India’s delicate balancing act in its relations with Russia amid the Ukraine crisis.

Despite not fully backing Ukraine, India has refrained from signing a joint communique at a peace summit in Switzerland that emphasized Ukraine’s territorial integrity in any peace deal. Concurrently, India has emerged as a significant buyer of Russian oil, providing Russia with a crucial export market after Western nations-imposed sanctions and cut off traditional trade routes.

Modi, who was recently re-elected for a historic third term, last visited Russia in September 2019 for the India-Russia annual summit in Vladivostok. This context underscores the potential impact of his forthcoming visit, as it will occur against the backdrop of ongoing geopolitical tensions and the evolving India-Russia relationship.

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