Modi, Putin discuss coordinating steps to ensure regional security – Times of India

NEW DELHI: After German Chancellor Angela Merkel, PM Narendra Modi on Tuesday had a 45-minute conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin with a focus on Afghanistan as the two sides shared assessments and sought to coordinate actions to ensure regional security.
India and Russia agreed to set up a “bilateral channel” for consultations with Modi tweeting: “Had a detailed and useful exchange of views with my friend President Putin on recent developments in Afghanistan. We also discussed issues on the bilateral agenda, including India-Russia cooperation against Covid-19. We agreed to continue close consultations on important issues”.
The Modi-Putin conversation comes on a day when G-7 leaders met virtually to discuss the Afghan situation. A readout from the Russian embassy here said, “During the exchange of views on the situation in Afghanistan, the sides noted the importance of coordinated efforts which would contribute to the establishment of peace and stability in this country, ensuring security in the region as a whole.”
India and Russia agreed to continue consultations, but both countries are coming to the Afghan question from different positions. Russia has courted the Taliban openly for the past few years. How that will play out in the coming months remains to be seen. India has refrained from engaging the Taliban in any meaningful way, but with a huge developmental presence in that country, the question is whether any engagement is possible.
The conversation coincided with the first NSAs meeting of Brics nations after the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban. NSA Ajit Doval would have got a good idea of how Russia and China are working together on Afghanistan.
A readout of the meeting by MEA said a plan was adopted to further strengthen existing mechanisms of cooperation in areas such as financing and combating terrorism, misuse of the internet by terrorists, curbing the travel of terrorists, border controls, protection of soft targets, information sharing, capacity building and regional and international cooperation.
There was a lot of attention to “heightened risk of growth of illegal drug production and trafficking in the region.” This was also part of the discussion between Modi and Putin that sought to “enhance cooperation on countering dissemination of terrorist ideology and the drug threat emanating from the territory of Afghanistan.”
The Kremlin statement said Modi “expressed gratitude to Vladimir Putin for assistance in combating the spread of the Covid-19 infection, including supply and production of the Russian vaccine in India, as well as shipment of the necessary medicines and medical equipment.”

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Modi, Putin discuss coordinating steps to ensure regional security – Times of India

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