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Putin congratulates Modi on election victory

The Russian president has spoken with the Indian leader, who is heading for a third term as prime minister of the nation of 1.4bn

Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Indian leader Narendra Modi on the success of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the parliamentary election, the Kremlin announced on Wednesday. The two leaders spoke by phone a day after India’s Election Commission announced the results of the six-week vote, in which the National Democratic Alliance coalition, led by Modi’s BJP, won 294 seats, above the 272 threshold required to form a government.

“This is a reflection of support for the political course pursued by the Indian leadership, and a recognition of its achievements in the country’s socio-economic development and the strengthening of its international authority,” the Kremlin statement noted. It added that the two leaders agreed to “continue the constructive personal interaction” as they see bilateral relations “expanding in all directions.”

India-Russia relations have remained robust despite Western pressure on New Delhi over its ties with Moscow since the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict. Western officials and media have claimed that trade with India has allowed Moscow to “soften the blow” of sanctions imposed by the US, the EU, and their allies, while India’s top officials have highlighted the importance of relations with Russia – not only because of historical ties, but because of the “pragmatic” needs of the nation of 1.4 billion.

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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters to celebrate the party’s win in country's general election, in New Delhi on June 4, 2024
Modi in limbo: With no majority, the Indian PM is at the mercy of his coalition partners

India’s imports from Russia increased by 33% to $61.4 billion during the 2023-24 financial year, largely due to oil purchases.

Putin was among dozens of world leaders congratulating Modi on Wednesday, with messages pouring in from the US, China, the UK, Italy, France, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Indonesia, and others.

India’s narrow election result has sparked a heated atmosphere in New Delhi, with both the NDA bloc and the rival INDIA alliance – consisting of dozens of opposition parties – now holding discussions on attempting to form a government.

The INDIA bloc won 234 seats in parliament, surpassing expectations, as well as exit polls released on June 1, when the last phase of polling concluded. Over 640 million Indians cast their ballots during the seven phases of polling, which started on April 19.

Earlier on Wednesday, Narendra Modi tendered his resignation as prime minister to President Droupadi Murmu, who accepted it and asked him to continue to fulfil his role until a new government takes office. Modi earlier chaired the last meeting of the Union Cabinet, which recommended the dissolution of 17th Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament), news agency PTI reported. The term of the lower house ends on June 16.

Modi has also chaired a meeting with National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners to discuss the formation of a new government. Key allies, including Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu, Janata Dal (United) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, and Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, were present at the meeting.

According to Indian media, the NDA bloc is likely to meet President Murmu later on Wednesday and stake claim to form a government under Modi’s leadership. He could be sworn in for a third term as prime minister as early as June 8, the reports claim.

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June 05, 2024 at 09:49PM

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