Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a message to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of that country’s Republic Day, in which he stressed the importance of India’s strategic partnership with Russia, according to TASS. “We value the privileged strategic partnership between our countries. I am confident that, through joint efforts, we will continue to systematically boost the constructive cooperation between Russia and India across the board,” Putin wrote. “This fully meets the interests of our friendly peoples as it is in line with strengthening security and stability both regionally and globally,” he added.
Speaking the day before at a meeting with students in Kaliningrad to mark “Russian Student Day,” Putin told an Indian medical student that India is pursuing “an independent foreign policy, which is not easy in the modern world.” He added that “India has the right to do so.” Moreover, Putin added, “this is practically important: Can we rely on a country or its leadership, or will it make decisions tomorrow that don’t even align with its national interests? India does not engage in such `games’—I can confirm this. There is tough, nationally-oriented leadership in the country.”