Narendra Modi calls Russia ‘time tested friend’

New Delhi, June 19 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday described Russia as a “time tested friend” and said Moscow stood by India in difficult times.

At a meeting with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin who called on Modi here, the prime minister appreciated Russia’s support in building India’s military capabilities. Modi said he intended to take the relationship with Russia to a higher level, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Rogozin conveyed President Vladimir Putin’s greetings to Modi, the statement added. He also communicated Putin’s desire to work with Modi and strengthen the “special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia”. Modi thanked Rogozin for Russia’s contribution to the realisation of INS Vikramaditya, a major milestone in India’s naval capabilities.

The Indian prime minister said he looked forward to “a productive, substantive and forward looking” summit with Putin later in the year. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Nripendra Misra and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval were present at the meeting.