Uproar as India strips Kashmir of special status

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019 00:00 |
Pakistani students during an anti-Indian protest rally in Lahore, yesterday. They condemned India’s move to abolish Kashmir’s special status. Photo/AFP

Vladivostok, Wednesday

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised his “close friend” Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday as the pair said they would work to boost military, trade and energy ties.

The leaders met on the first day of Russia’s economic forum in the Pacific coast city of Vladivostok, an annual event since 2015 as Moscow looks to bolster relations with Asia amid tensions with the West.

“I’m very grateful to my close friend Vladimir Putin for this opportunity,” Modi said at a press conference following talks and a tour of a naval shipyard. 

“We have reached a new stage in collaboration,” he said, adding that the pair discussed “unprecedented” mutual investment in oil and gas industries. 

A joint statement called for cooperation in military and technological spheres, with the possibility of creating joint ventures in India to develop and manufacture civilian aircraft.

It also called for a reorganisation of the UN Security Council to reflect the “global realities” of a multipolar world. 

For his part, Putin hailed his “great friend, Modi” and said India was “our strategic partner.”

“Special attention was paid to trade and economic cooperation in the talks,” he said, though details of major trade deals were not immediately announced.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was also to visit Vladivostok, along with Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Big cats

But Putin was spending most of his time on Wednesday with Modi, who in an interview ahead of the meeting spoke of the “special chemistry” he shared with the Russian leader. 

 “With each meeting with President Putin, we get closer and our relationship grows,” he told the newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Modi pointed out that mutual ties also extend to nature, as every year “Siberian cranes migrate to my home state Gujarat”. 

The Indian leader said he wanted to discuss tiger conservation with Putin, a lover of big cats. -AFP

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