PM Modi calls Russian president Putin..


NEW DELHI: As the speed builds up on the NSG question, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call on Saturday. Russia has been supportive of India's global ambitions from the UN Security Council to the nuclear deal, though Modi's diplomatic focus has so far been on the US.

Though there is no official confirmation yet, Modi is likely to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Tashkent in Uzbekistan where India would formally be drafted into the grouping as a fuller member along with Pakistan. Till now, India and Pakistan have been observer members of the Eurasian alliance of nations. The symbolism on Shanghai Cooperation Organisation cannot be lost as this regional security grouping is seen as a counter to the US-led military alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit that comprises among others Russia and China will be held on June 23 and 24. “Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Indian side’s initiative,” Kremlin said in a statement about the phone call timed on the eve of Russian National Day. “The discussion focused on practical issues of the two countries’ cooperation, including preparations for the top-level contacts to be held shortly,” the statement said. The two leaders also reaffirmed their determination to “further bilateral relations”, termed as “privileged strategic partnership”.