Natural for terrorism to figure in Modi-Putin Goa meet: Official

Panaji, Oct 14 (IANS) Discussion on terrorism will be on the agenda when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet on Saturday during the 17th bilateral summit between the two countries.

Indian ambassador to Moscow Pankaj Saran said that the two leaders would discuss a “broad menu” of issues including new areas of co-operation like energy, infrastructure, railways, agriculture, hi-technology.

“For sure, terrorism will be a subject of discussion. That is something which is expected and that would be very natural for both the leaders to discuss,” Saran told reporters in Goa on Friday.

The bilateral summit which is being held on Saturday, on the sidelines of the BRICS summit, is Putin’s 17th engagement with an Indian head of state, Saran said, adding that this alone “speaks for itself in terms of the intensity of the high-level political engagement between Russia and India”.

“As far as India is concerned, the relationship with Russia is among the most important that India has with any country in the world. It is based on mutual trust, mutual understanding, mutual respect and it encompasses every field of activity. So the engagement is deep, very intense and it is poised to grow even further,” Saran said.

He added that the nearly 70-year-old India-Russia relationship should be “reflective of the contemporary India-Russia relationship”.

“It should cater to the young generations of both the countries. It should be as inclusive as possible, both in terms of its content as well as its strength within Russia and India. You should take the friendship back to the people,” Saran said.

The ambassador also said that both the heads of state are expected to discuss wide-ranging issues when the two meet in Goa on Saturday.

“It is a very broad menu and what I would say is that it is fully reflective of the kind of relationship which I have described to you,” he said.

Speaking about new areas of co-operation, Saran said: “We are making new inroads into certain sectors like energy. Like infrastructure, like railways, we are also looking at areas like agriculture and we are looking at hi-technology.”

He said that the leaders would also discuss issues related to port connectivity, which he said was being an “obstacle in the growth of our trade and economic partnership”.

“I would say that the India of today and the Russia of today, are more ambitious than they have ever been in the past about finding new areas and moving forward in all of them,” Saran said.