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SOURCE: ANI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is scheduled to embark on his visit to Moscow next week, is expected to discuss issues of regional and global importance with Russian President Vladimir Putin, comfirmed Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra on Friday.

Responding to whether the two leaders are expected to discuss Ukraine and China, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra stressed that he cannot pre-judge the two leaders’ conversation, adding that the global issues will be discussed.

Prime Minister Modi will pay an official visit to Moscow on July 8-9, at the invitation of the Russian President Putin for the 22nd annual summit. The two leaders will review the entire range of multifaceted ties between India and Russia.

“This is going to be the 22nd annual summit. In all the past summits, whenever the prime minister has met with the Russian president in the past and also even in sideline meetings, for example…the meeting in Samarkand in 2022. The issues of regional and global importance for both countries are always taken up by the two leaders, ” Kwatra said during a special briefing on Friday.

Kwatra further said that it would not be correct for him to prejudge the discussions between the two leaders.

“I think it would not be correct for me to really prejudge the entire spectrum of issues that would figure in the discussion between the honorable prime minister and the Russian president, the same would apply to the second part of your question,” he said.

“You are well aware of what the honorable prime minister spoke when he referred to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine at that time with the Russian president. So we are all aware of that and those issues in terms of how they impact the countries of the global south, how they have a bearing on the peace instability in the larger region, and how they also interface with some elements of bilateral engagement would naturally be would expect it to figure in the discussion,” Kwatra added.

Moreover, the foreign secretary said that there is a possibility that the two leaders will discuss the developments in the Indo-Pacific as it is significant to both India and Russia.

“The developments in the Indo-Pacific have a spectrum of opportunities and a spectrum of challenges, and given that they are of significance to both India and Russia, it is possible that they might also figure in the agenda,” he said, adding, “But again, as I said, it’s not correct for me to prejudge what the two leaders would speak about, except to say that issues of regional and global importance would constitute an important element of the conversations that the two would have.”

On Indians stranded in Russia, who were allegedly duped into fighting for the Russian Army in the war against Ukraine, Kwatra restated that around 10 Indian citizens have been brought back to India, adding that they expect PM Modi to raise the issue.

“We are looking into this matter very seriously. Around 10 Indian citizens have been brought back till now to India. We expect PM Modi to raise this issue,” Kwatra said.

Notably, around 20 persons were allegedly duped into fighting for the Russian Army in the war against Ukraine on the pretext of lucrative jobs. At least two Indians have died.

The MEA confirmed in April that among the Indian nationals who were working as support staff in the Russian Army, 10 have returned to India.