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India, Russia Aim for Stronger Bilateral Ties Despite Minor Hiccups

© Sputnik / Mikhail Voskresenskiy / Go to the photo bankRussian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, left, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during talks in New Delhi. File photo
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, left, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during talks in New Delhi. File photo - Sputnik International
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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed satisfaction with the all-round progress in India-Russia ties in a meeting with visiting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

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New Delhi (Sputnik) — Experts say bilateral ties should overcome small hurdles as India and Russia prepare for another Summit.

"The Prime Minister noted with satisfaction the positive all-round progress in bilateral cooperation between India and Russia," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement, which also appreciated "the frequent high-level exchanges between the two sides as both countries celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year".

Rogozin visited India for the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission meeting that is co-chaired by Sushma Swaraj, the Indian External Affairs Minister.

Modi is scheduled to attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) meeting to be held from June 1-3. During his visit, Modi will have a Summit-level meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

While India-Russia ties are overwhelmingly described as "privileged strategic partnership", there is discomfiture among certain quarters that Russia is cozying up to Pakistan. Experts take a more nuanced stand.

"Russia's changing approaches to Afghanistan and Pakistan are indeed a source of concern… The real key to a successful foreign policy is self-reliance, especially in our defense posture. Hard power is what has enabled Russia to play a lone hand in Ukraine and Syria, and there is a lesson in this for us," P.P. Shukla, Indian ambassador to Russia between 2007 and 2011, told Sputnik. Shukla is currently Distinguished Fellow at the Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi.

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On India's growing strategic convergence with the US and the West, Shukla advocated playing a strategic bridge between the West and Russia.

"Russia and the US are important partners for us, and we can develop ties with both without compromising our national interests. We could, in fact, be a bridge to better relations between the US and Russia, and are uniquely placed to do so," he added.

Earlier on Wednesday, Rogozin held meetings with Swaraj and discussed an array of issues under the ambit of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC), a key forum to address major issues concerning bilateral ties. Later at a joint press briefing, the two leaders described the talks as "fruitful".

The two countries are unanimous in taking forward the strategic partnership and agreed to collaborate in several areas, including nuclear energy, joint projects in third countries, development of critical technologies for human spaceflight program, renewable energy and energy efficient technologies.

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