Amid mounting global concerns over the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday discussed the unfolding of events there and its implications for the region and the world.
The leaders expressed the view that it was important for the two strategic partners to work together and instructed their senior officials to remain in touch, the Prime Minister's Office said.
After the conversation, the Russian embassy in India said the two leaders expressed the intention to enhance cooperation to counter the dissemination of "terrorist ideology" and the drug threat emanating from Afghanistan and agreed to form a permanent bilateral channel for consultations on the issue.
In a tweet, Modi said,"had a detailed and useful exchange of views with my friend President Putin on recent developments in Afghanistan. We also discussed issues on the bilateral agenda, including India-Russia cooperation against COVID-19. We agreed to continue close consultations on important issues".
The Russian embassy said both sides noted the importance of coordinated efforts to "establish peace and stability" in Afghanistan and to ensure security in the region as a whole.
"They expressed intention to enhance cooperation on countering the dissemination of the terrorist ideology and the drug threat emanating from the territory of Afghanistan," the embassy said.
"It was agreed to form a permanent bilateral channel for consultations on this issue," it added.
It said several issues pertaining to the further development of the Russia-India special and privileged strategic partnership, including in trade and economy, were also touched upon.
"Narendra Modi expressed gratitude to Vladimir Putin for assistance in combating the spread of the COVID-19 infection, including supply and production of the Russian vaccine in India, as well as shipment of the necessary medicines and medical equipment," the embassy said.
According to the PMO, both leaders expressed satisfaction at the progress in the partnership between their countries despite the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic.
They appreciated the ongoing bilateral cooperation in the fight against the pandemic, especially in the supply and production of Sputnik V' vaccine, it added.
They also touched upon the forthcoming multilateral engagements, including the BRICS Summit, the meeting of the Council of SCO Heads of State, and India's participation in the Eastern Economic Forum.
According to the PMO, Modi said he looked forward to Putin's visit to India for the next bilateral summit.
The two leaders agreed to remain in touch on bilateral and global issues, in particular, the situation in Afghanistan, it said.
On Monday, Modi had spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the Afghanistan situation and its implications on the region and the world.
Both leaders had emphasised the importance of maintaining peace and security.
Russian Prez Putin Criticises US Departure From Afghanistan
Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized the United States and its allies for leaving Afghanistan in chaos that raises potential security threats for Russia and its allies in Central Asia.
Addressing Tuesday's meeting of the main Kremlin party, United Russia, Putin noted that militants could use the turmoil to destabilize the ex-Soviet Central Asian nations bordering Afghanistan.
There is a danger that terrorists and different groups that found a refuge in Afghanistan will use the chaos left by our Western colleagues and try to launch an expansion into neighboring countries, Putin said. That will pose a direct threat to our country and its allies.
At the same time, Putin noted that Moscow has learned the lessons of the 10-year Soviet war in Afghanistan and will stay away from turmoil in Afghanistan.
We have drawn the necessary lessons, Putin said. We don't have any intention to interfere in Afghanistan's internal affairs and, moreover, let our military forces be drawn into the all-against-all conflict.
He added that a possible rise in drug trafficking and the exacerbation of problems with migration could also pose threats to Russia.
Moscow, which fought a 10-year war in Afghanistan that ended with the Soviet troops' withdrawal in 1989, has made a diplomatic comeback as a mediator over the past few years, reaching out to the Taliban and other feuding Afghan factions.