Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Russian President Vladimir Putin at an informal summit in Sochi, Russia, on Monday afternoon. During the meeting, Modi acknowledged Russia’s role in getting India a permanent membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation last year, ANI reported.

Modi thanked Putin for inviting him to the meeting. He said the two countries were working together on the International North-South Transport Corridor and the five-member group of emerging economies, BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The two leaders are expected to discuss bilateral matters in the first informal summit between the countries.

On the eve of his visit to Russia, the prime minister, in a series of tweets, said he was confident that talks with Putin will further “strengthen the special and privileged” strategic partnership between the two countries.

Putin’s invitation to Modi is in keeping with the “tradition of regular consultations” between the two countries, a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs said on May 18. The two leaders last met in June 2017, and this is Modi’s fourth visit to Russia.

“This will be an important occasion for the two leaders to exchange views on international matters in a broad and long-term perspective with the objective of further strengthening our special and privileged strategic partnership,” the statement had said. “Both leaders will also discuss their respective national developmental priorities and bilateral matters.”

The one-day meeting is expected to be “agendaless, flexible and would have no formalities in terms of protocol”, according to some reports. Other reports speculated that discussions will include sanctions imposed by the United States on Russia and Iran, and India’s defence ties with Russia.

The meeting follows Modi’s informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in April. Modi also invited Xi for an informal summit in 2019. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale made visits to Moscow in April and May.