Vladimir Putin was due to meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this month. However, in a sign of growing Russian isolation on the world stage, an Indian government source said the meeting has now been abruptly cancelled. The move to cancel the annual face-to-face meeting was taken after veiled threats by Vladimir Putin to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war, according to Bloomberg News.
Indian and Russian leaders have held face-to-face meetings every year for the past 21 years – except for 2020 due to Covid.
An Indian official told Bloomberg that a meeting with President Putin under the current circumstances would not help Prime Minister Modi’s image.
The Indian PM, who has been a strong ally of Russia, appeared to first criticize his Russian counterpart publicly in September over his invasion of Ukraine.
Responding to Russia’s threat of nuclear weapons, PM Modi said “today’s era is not an era of war”.
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Delhi has since sought to distance itself from the Kremlin leader’s threat to use nuclear bombs in Ukraine.
However, India has sought to downplay the move, with one anonymous official in the Delhi government claiming the cancellation was because the two leaders already held discussions earlier this year.
The two met on the sidelines of a regional security bloc summit in Uzbekistan in September.
However, it marks the latest snub for President Putin, who was shunned by traditional ally Armenia last month after its leader asked France to chair peace talks with Azerbaijan instead of Russia.
However, he added: “Time is money, and the longer this goes on, the more we will all end up paying in military support.
“It’s in everyone’s interest, including Russia’s, that the curtain comes down as soon as possible on Mr. Putin’s misadventure. Not in 2025, not in 2024, but in 2023.”
The former PM said that time was of the essence since next winter could prove more difficult than the current one.
He wrote: “Are we really going to wait and let this thing drift until Mr Putin has regained some of his leverage?”