On the eve of his summit talks with Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he shared a “special chemistry” with the Russian President and is keen on technology transfers so that the two sides can make military equipment in India at cheaper rates for export to third countries.
Modi, the first Prime Minister to visit Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok, is due to hold wide-ranging talks with President Putin on Wednesday ahead of his departure to the Russian port city.
“I am confident that this visit will give a new vector, new energy and a new impetus to the relations between our countries,” Modi said in an interview with Russia’s state-run TASS news agency.
Russia and India are set to sign about 15 documents, including some in the military-technical sectors, within the framework of the 20th Russian-Indian summit that will take place on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF), a Tass report said.
The Russian-Indian partnership has gone beyond the framework of military and technical cooperation, Modi said.
“We are close friends. And as close friends, we should think about what we can do together in the future,” he said.
“We don’t want to be limited just to relations between the customer and the seller of military technologies. We are sure about the model of transferring technologies. I have said several times about this and we have even started moving in this direction,” Modi said.
“Today, provided that technologies are transferred, the production of military equipment can be cheap in India. And we will be able to supply these weapons to third countries at very low prices. India and Russia need to take advantage of this opportunity,” he noted.
He also spoke about India’s manned space mission—the Gaganyaan project—and said that Russia will help train the country’s astronauts.
Commenting on his personal relations with President Putin, the prime minister said he has “special chemistry” with him.
“We sit and talk, walk around and talk. There is a special chemistry in our relations, a special ease. We will have a lot of time during this forum. I hope that we will be able to discuss many issues,” Modi said.
He stressed the importance of mutual trust in the relations between Russia and India, calling it a special achievement.
“I had the opportunity to meet President Putin for the first time in 2001. I came to Moscow with then-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. I was the Chief Minister of a state (Gujarat), and this was our first meeting.
“However, Putin did not make me feel like I was less important; that I was from a small state or that I am new. He treated me amicably, as a friend. This opened the doors of friendship,” Modi said.
“We have discussed not only the issues related to our states; we have talked about various issues, our hobbies, global issues. We talked openly, as partners. He is a very interesting person to talk to, and I admit that we have very enlightening conversations.”
Prime Minister Modi will take part in the 2019 Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) as the chief guest.
“This forum is not confined to a mere exchange of points of view. We have been gearing up for this forum for six months,” Modi said.
He noted that a large delegation from Russia’s Far East visited India and chief ministers from India, ministers, businessmen visited the Far East and saw it with their own eyes.
The prime minister also said he is ready to make efforts to ensure that the EEF will help boost and expand economic relations between India and Russia. “That is why I think that the Eastern Forum is a very important event,” he said.