Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said both New Delhi and Moscow “believe not to interfere in the internal matters of any country”, reported NDTV. Modi arrived at the Vladivostok International Airport on Wednesday for a two-day visit to Russia. During a joint media briefing, Modi said, “Both Russia and India want to see a strong, stable, and democratic government in Afghanistan.”

Modi’s comments came amid mounting global concerns over Jammu and Kashmir since the Centre revoked its special status and bifurcated it into Union Territories. Russia has backed India’s move, saying that the changes in the status were within the framework of the Indian Constitution.

Prime Minister Modi said he has discussed ways to boost cooperation between India and Russia in trade and investment, oil and gas, nuclear energy, defence, space and maritime connectivity. “Whenever needed, wherever required, India and Russia has, is and always will stand by each other,” Modi said. “Our cooperation is not just on regional, international, and global cooperation, but we are also cooperating in places like the Arctic and Antarctic.”

Apart from bilateral talks, Modi is expected to attend the Eastern Economic Forum. This is his third bilateral trip to the country and the first visit by an Indian prime minister to the Far East Region of Russia.

“Landed in Vladivostok, capital of the Russian Far East and the crossroads of a dynamic region,” the prime minister tweeted early on Wednesday. “Looking forward to joining various programmes in this short but important visit.” The prime minister was welcomed with a guard of honour after he landed.

Modi will attend the 5th Eastern Economic Forum as its chief guest on Putin’s invitation and also hold the 20th India-Russia Annual Summit with the president. “I look forward to discussing with my friend President Putin the entire gamut of our bilateral partnership as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest,” the prime minister’s departure statement read. “I also look forward to meeting other global leaders attending the Eastern Economic Forum, and interacting with Indian Industry and business representatives participating in it.”

The economic forum would focus on the development of business and investment opportunities in the Far East region. It also presented the potential for “developing close and mutually beneficial cooperation” between New Delhi and Moscow, the statement read.

After his arrival, Modi visited the Zvezda shipbuilding complex with Putin. The ships that were built at the yard will be used to deliver Russian oil and liquefied natural gas to world markets, including India, Putin’s aide Yuri Ushakov was quoted as saying by Tass news agency.

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