Russia allows Indian recruits to leave its military after Modi-Putin talks

Russia has “broadly agreed” to discharge all Indian citizens working in its military following a meeting between Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and Russian president Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

India’s foreign ministry last month demanded a “verified stop” on the recruitment of its citizens allegedly “misled” into serving in the Russian army after two Indians were killed fighting in Ukraine. Two Indian nationals had been killed in March as well.

Mr Modi brought up the matter during a private dinner hosted by Mr Putin on Monday, news agency PTI reported, citing unnamed sources. The Indian leader is on a two-day visit to Moscow.

Russia was expected to formally announce the decision to discharge all Indians from its military following official talks on Tuesday.

Vladimir Putin with Minister Narendra Modi in Moscow (EPA)Vladimir Putin with Minister Narendra Modi in Moscow (EPA)

Vladimir Putin with Minister Narendra Modi in Moscow (EPA)

India had asked Moscow to quickly discharge all Indians working in its military and ensure their safe return while urging its citizens to “exercise caution” in seeking employment in Russia.

Randhir Jaiswal, India’s foreign ministry spokesman, said about 20 people had sought help to return home.

Nearly 100 Indian citizens have reportedly been recruited in the Russian military, many of them conned by agents into working as “army security helpers”, according to a report in The Hindu.

A group of men from the western states of Punjab and Haryana dressed in army uniforms recorded a video earlier this year claiming they had been tricked into fighting in the Ukraine war.

In May, Indian police arrested four people allegedly linked to an international human trafficking ring involved in tricking workers into fighting in the Ukraine war by offering them lucrative jobs.

Mr Modi, making his first bilateral visit to Russia since starting his third time as prime minister, was welcomed by Mr Putin on Monday night.

“I look forward to tomorrow’s negotiations which will undoubtedly further strengthen the friendship between India and Russia,” Mr Modi wrote on X.

The Russian leader showed Mr Modi around his residence outside Moscow on a golf cart ahead of official talks in the Kremlin.

“India’s relationship with Russia is based on mutual trust and respect,” Mr Modi said while addressing the Indian diaspora in Moscow on Tuesday.

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