India's PM Modi travels to Russia for official visit

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Russia on Monday to begin a two-day official visit and shore up ties with a longstanding partner. Modi knows he has to strike a balance with President Vladimir Putin.

This is his first official visit since Russian troops invaded Ukraine. India is determined to keep its close ties with Russia despite pressure from Western countries and their allies. On his arrival, Modi tweeted, "Stronger ties between our nations will greatly benefit our people."

Putin hosted Modi for informal talks at his residence near Moscow. Their official talks will be held on Tuesday on issues including the economy, energy and security.

The two leaders have seen an increase in trade, which added up last year to about 65 billion dollars. However, much of that stems from the sale of Russian oil that has come under Western sanctions. Indian officials say Modi wants to fix the imbalance and increase exports.

Russia is India's largest supplier of military equipment, with strong ties that date back to the Cold War. However, the conflict in Ukraine has complicated the relationship and pushed Russia closer to India's rival, China.