Russian President Vladimir Putin wished “all the best” to his “dear friend” Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of his birthday on Saturday as the two leaders held talks on the sidelines of the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation here on Friday.

Prime Minister Modi, who is attending the first in-person summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in two years in the historic Uzbek city of Samarkand, will turn 72 on Saturday.

In their first meeting after the Ukraine conflict broke out in February this year, Putin wished India and Prime Minister Modi.

“I would like to wish India all the best. I also know that tomorrow, my dear friend, you are about to celebrate your birthday. As per the Russian tradition, we never offer Congratulations in advance. So, I cannot do that right now,” Putin said.

“But I would like you to know that we know about that. And we wish you all the best. We wish all the best to the friendly Indian nation and we wish prosperity to India under your leadership,” the 69-year-old Russian president said.

Putin said the relations between Russia and India continue to develop very rapidly and have the nature of a strategic privileged partnership, asserting that the two countries are actively engaging on international platforms.

“Had a wonderful meeting with President Putin. We got the opportunity to discuss furthering India-Russia cooperation in sectors such as trade, energy, defence, and more. We also discussed other bilateral and global issues,” Modi tweeted about his meeting with Putin.

PM Modi arrived here on Thursday night on an around 24-hour visit.

The summit of the eight-nation influential grouping is taking place amid the growing geo-political turmoil largely triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and China’s aggressive military posturing in the Taiwan Strait.

Launched in Shanghai in June 2001, the SCO has eight full members, including its six founding members, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan joined as full members in 2017.