New Delhi: Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to India was short but highly productive and substantive. Briefing media in New Delhi, Mr Shringla said there were excellent discussions between the two leaders and a record number of 28 agreements were concluded during the visit. He said these agreements include those between government to government and business to business.  

The Foreign Secretary said Russia has begun deliveries of its long-range S-400 surface-to-air missile defence system to India. He said S-400 supplies began this month and will continue to happen.

 He said Prime Minister Modi and President Putin decided to continue close consultation and coordination between India and Russia on Afghanistan. Both sides were clear that Afghan territory should not be used for sheltering, training or planning acts of terrorism.

He said there was strong convergence in ideas to address cross-border terrorism, and countering terror groups.

The Foreign Secretary said the fact that President Putin decided to visit India for the annual summit is an indication of the importance he attaches to the bilateral relationship and his personal rapport with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He elaborated that enhancing bilateral trade and investment figured prominently in the talks between the two leaders. 

He also added that there has been an encouraging trend of growth in bilateral trade compared to last year. He said that both sides are looking forward to continued increase in trade and investment trajectory. Mr Shringla informed that on the trade and investment side, there are some specific plans which include long-term cooperation in the areas of inland waterways, fertilizers, coking coals, steel, and skilled manpower.

He said there are 15 million Buddhists in Russia and this community is keen on looking at India for pilgrimage and other areas of interest. Mr Shringla emphasised that cultural cooperation is also important for both countries.

The Foreign Secretary said Prime Minister Modi thanked President Putin for the welfare of Indian community in Russia, especially during COVID pandemic. Both leaders discussed the need for mutual recognition of vaccine certification to enable easier travel by citizens to each other's countries.   

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