India, Russia to establish a '2+2 ministerial dialogue' between foreign, defence ministers

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New Delhi, Apr 28 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday thanked President Vladimir Putin for Russia's help and support in India's fight against COVID-19 as the two leaders agreed to establish a '2+2 ministerial dialogue' between foreign and defence ministers to add further momentum to the bilateral strategic partnership.

In a statement following a telephonic conversation between Modi and Putin, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said the Russian president expressed solidarity with the people and government of India and conveyed that Russia would extend all possible support in their fight against the pandemic.

'Prime Minister Modi thanked President Putin and noted that the prompt Russian support to India was a symbol of our enduring partnership,' it said.

In a series of tweets, Modi said they reviewed diverse bilateral cooperation, especially in the area of space exploration and renewable energy sector, including in hydrogen economy.

Our cooperation on the Sputnik-V vaccine will assist humanity in battling the pandemic, he said.

'Had an excellent conversation with my friend President Putin today. We discussed the evolving COVID-19 situation, and I thanked President Putin for Russia's help and support in India's fight against the pandemic,' Modi tweeted.

Sputnik-V, a coronavirus vaccine, has been approved by the government for emergency use in India, a decision which Putin appreciated.

The two leaders noted that the Russian vaccine will be manufactured in India for use in India, Russia and third countries, the statement said.

Modi conveyed appreciation for the support received from Russia for India’s Gaganyaan programme and the completion of the Russian phase of training of the four astronauts for India's first manned space mission.

The two leaders also recalled important decisions taken during their last summit meeting in Vladivostok in September 2019, with Prime Minister Modi conveying that he looked forward to the Russian president’s visit to India later this year for the bilateral Summit which would provide an occasion to continue their 'personal and trusted conversation'.

Putin assured Modi of Russia’s full support for the success of India’s presidency of BRICS during 2021, and the two leaders agreed to remain in close touch on bilateral and international issues, the statement said. PTI KR RT