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Putin Hosts Indian PM Modi At St. Petersburg Forum

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Tashkent in June 2016.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as Russia hosts the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Modi is the guest of honor at this year's forum.

It comes as Russia emerges from a long recession but remains mired in severely strained relations with the West over Moscow's interference in Ukraine.

Moscow and India enjoyed close ties during the Cold War, when the Soviet Union was New Delhi's largest trading partner, diplomatic ally, and arms supplier.

The links weakened following the 1991 Soviet collapse, as India underwent an economic transformation and increasingly sought to build trade ties with the West.

Putin is set to meet with other leaders during the three-day event, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, and Moldovan President Igor Dodon.

Putin is to address the gathering on June 2 and meet with heads of international news agencies on June 1 at noon local time.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa