Sochi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said he had "extremely productive" discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin and they reviewed the complete range of India-Russia relations as well as global issues and underlined the need for a multi-polar world during their first ever informal summit in this Black Sea coastal city.
Modi said friendship between India and Russia has stood the test of time and their ties will continue to scale newer heights in the coming years.
He said the seeds of the 'strategic partnership' sown by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and President Putin have now grown into a "special privileged strategic partnership" which is a "very big achievement" in itself.
"I am grateful to President Putin who invited me for an informal meeting and hence, in the long friendship of ours, this is a new aspect that has been attached to our relationship," Modi said.
"You have added a new aspect of an informal summit in the bilateral relationship which I think is a great occasion and creates trust," he said.
A statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs said the two leaders agreed that the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia is an important factor for global peace and stability.
"They shared the view that India and Russia have an important role to play in contributing to an open and equitable world order. They recognised each other's respective roles as major powers with common responsibilities for maintaining global peace and stability," the statement said.
The two leaders held in-depth discussions on major international issues and agreed on the importance of building a multi-polar world order, it said.
They decided to intensify consultation and coordination with each other, including on the Indo-Pacific Region.
"Both leaders expressed their concern over terrorism and radicalisation, and their determination to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. In this context, they endorsed the importance of restoring peace and stability in Afghanistan in an atmosphere free from the threat of terrorism, and agreed to work together towards achieving this objective," the statement said.
Modi and Putin held a detailed exchange of views on the national development plans and priorities.
The two leaders directed their officials to prepare concrete outcomes for the forthcoming Summit in India later this year, the statement said.
They agreed to institute a Strategic Economic Dialogue between NITI Aayog and the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia, to identify greater synergy in trade and investment. They noted with satisfaction the expanding cooperation in the energy sector and welcomed the arrival of the first consignment of LNG under a long-term agreement between Gazprom and GAIL, next month.
The two leaders also reiterated the significance of longstanding partnership in the military, security and nuclear energy fields and welcomed the ongoing cooperation in these areas.
Modi also thanked Russia for playing a major role in helping India get a permanent membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). India and Pakistan were admitted last year into the organisation.
"We are working together on International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and BRICS," Modi said.
He also congratulated Putin for becoming the President for the fourth time with an overwhelming majority.
Welcoming Prime Minister Modi to Sochi, Putin said his visit would give a fresh impetus to bilateral ties.
"We are delighted to see you, Mr Prime Minister, and consider you personally as a big friend of our country. We are very glad to be able to have this meeting," Putin told Modi.
He said Russia and India maintain a high strategic level of partnership, with close cooperation between the two countries' defence ministries.
"Our defence ministries maintain very close contacts and cooperation. It speaks about a very high strategic level of our partnership," Putin said.
He also hailed joint activities of the two countries in the area of foreign politics, in particular within the United Nations, BRICS and the SCO.
"There is no need to explain Russian-Indian relations since we all know that they have deep roots. However, we have been able to create additional momentum recently. Last year, our trade saw a significant increase, adding another 17 percent since the beginning of this year," he said.
Russia's official Tass news agency quoted Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying that the talks were "very intense."
"I am confident that the ongoing informal contacts between the leaders of Russia and India will be useful and will help define the further guidelines for our development and strategic partnership," Lavrov said.
"We discussed the whole spectrum of our particularly privileged strategic partnership," the minister said.
The summit took place amidst the possible impact of the US sanctions against Russia under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on Indo-Russia defence cooperation.
The CAATSA is a United States federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. It includes sanctions against countries that engage in significant transactions with Russia's defence and intelligence sectors.
India could face US sanctions for purchasing high-value military defence items, in particular, state-of-the-art S-400 Triumf missile defence system, from Russia under the act.