Vladivostok (Russia): Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday (September 4) met on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) and discussed ways to further bond the special and privileged 'Strategic Partnership' between the two countries.

PM Modi, who arrived in Russia on a two-day visit during which he would also attend the EEF, is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the Russian far east region.

Addressing the gathering, PM Modi said, "This is a historic occasion to give a new dimension to the cooperation between the two countries." 

This comment by the Prime Minister was made at the 20th India-Russia Annual Summit on the sidelines of the EEF, which Russia has hosted since 2015 to boost partnerships with Asian countries.

In his speech, PM Modi said that Russia is an "integral friend and trustworthy partner" of India as he praised President Putin's personal efforts on expanding the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two countries.

PM Modi also expressed his gratitude to President Putin and people of Russia for conferring Russia's highest civilian award on him.

"This demonstrates the friendly relations between the people of our two countries. It's a matter of honour for the 1.3 billion Indians," PM Modi said.

Prime Minister Modi was named for the "Order of St Andrew the Apostle" award by Russia in April for his exceptional services in promoting bilateral ties between the two countries. This award is the highest state decoration of Russia.