New Delhi: India Foreign Secretary V K Gokhale, who is on a two-day visit to Russia, has met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and discussed a range of issues, including India’s membership for the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which Moscow backs.

A release by the Russian government said that both sides “discussed cooperation within BRICS format, the current issues of the key multilateral export control regimes, including New Delhi application for NSG membership, other non-proliferation and arms control issues, as well as topical international issues of mutual interest.”

Russian President Putin and PM Modi have spoken twice this year. First, on January 1 on the occasion of New Year and the second time February 27 when Putin expressed his condolences on the Pulwama terrorist attack.

The Russian president has invited Prime Minister Modi to attend the Eastern Economic Forum in the eastern Russian city Vladivostok later this year.

The 2nd informal summit between both countries is expected to happen this year in India. The first happened last year in Sochi, Russia.

Moscow has been a long-standing ally of New Delhi and has backed India in international forums such as the United Nations for the listing of chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. The country also is an important supplier of India when it comes to defence. Both sides concluded S400 deal last year during the annual bilateral summit.

Only last month, India signed a $3.3 billion deal with Russia for leasing the third nuclear-powered Akula class attack submarine even as the threat of US sanctions loom large over the contract for Russian S-400 Triumf missile systems in October last year.

According to reports, the two countries signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) in New Delhi on Thursday. The submarine, to be called Chakra -3, will be delivered in 2025 for a 10-year period. (Siddhant Sibal)