Putin congratulates Modi on winning the election.

Speaking with the leader of India, who is about to take on a third term as prime minister of the 1.4 billion country, the president of Russia

Putin congratulates Modi on winning the election.
Putin congratulates Modi on winning the election, File Photo

The Kremlin declared on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had congratulated Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), winning the legislative election. A day after the Indian Election Commission released the results of the six-week election, which saw the National Democratic Alliance coalition led by Prime Minister Modi's BJP win 294 seats—more than the 272 needed to form a government—the two leaders chatted over the phone.

“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.

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.