Modi arrives in Russia to red carpet welcome

Moscow: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Moscow on Wednesday evening on a two-day visit during which he will attend the 16th India-Russia annual summit.

“Namaste Moscow! PM @narendramodi arrives on his 1st bilateral visit to Russia as part of Annual Summits,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted.

After alighting from the aircraft, Modi was welcomed with a ceremonial guard of honour at the airport.

“Cold and rain no obstacles for a red carpet welcome for PM,” Swarup said in another tweet.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inspecting a guard of honour on his arrival at Vnukovo-2 Airport in Moscow on Wednesday. Pic/PTI

Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to host Modi for a private dinner later Wednesday night.

During the visit, a raft of agreements spanning a broad spectrum of sectors are expected to be signed following summit-level talks on Thursday between the two countries with trade being a major focus area.

Modi and Putin are scheduled to meet a delegation of Indian and Russian CEOs in the Kremlin.

Modi will address a gathering of Friends of India and also meet members of the Indian community in Russia.

The prime minister's itinerary includes a visit to Russia's National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC) in Moscow on Thursday.

The NCMC is a multi-level coordination centre designed to provide inter-agency coordination and alert the people about the threat of emergency situations. The capabilities of the NCMC include state-of-art real time monitoring, data collection, analysis and modelling.

In a pre-departure statement, Modi said he was very optimistic about his visit.

“Today I will commence my visit to Russia, my first bilateral visit after we formed the Government. I am very optimistic about the outcome of this visit," Modi said in the statement.

“History is witness to the close ties India and Russia have had over the decades. Russia remains one of India's most valued friends in the world," he stated.

“My visit will deepen the cooperation between India and Russia in the economic, energy and security spheres. We also want to increase cooperation in science and technology, mining among other sectors. Trade ties between India and Russia can increase even further, to benefit not only our two nations but also the world."

He also stated that there would be extensive deliberations with President Putin.

“There will be an interaction with Russian businesspersons to invite them to invest in India. I will also attend a ‘Friends of India’ programme. I am certain that this visit will substantially take forward the already strong people to people ties between our nations,” the prime minister said.

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