MOSCOW, Jul. 9 (RT) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday praised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership skills as the pair met for dinner in Moscow.

Welcoming Modi at his official residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, Putin congratulated the Indian prime minister on his reelection for a third consecutive term last month. “I think it was not by chance, but was the result of your work as the head of the government over many years,” the Russian president said.

Although Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost its outright majority in the 543-member Lower House (Lok Sabha), it crossed the majority mark with the help of allies. The trip to Russia is Modi’s first state visit abroad after being reelected.

“You know how to achieve results in the interests of India and the Indian people,” Putin said, adding that the size of India’s economy and the fact that it is now the world’s most populous country means that people’s family-planning horizons are expanding. “And this means that they feel confident, stable, which is very important.”

India surpassed the UK as the world’s fifth-largest economy in 2022 and is on track to overtake Japan and Germany and reach third spot by 2027. The country’s Finance Ministry has projected that the Indian economy will be worth over $7 trillion by the end of the decade.

Modi thanked Putin for hosting him and said he was looking forward to their official talks on Tuesday, “which will surely go a long way in further cementing the bonds of friendship between India and Russia.”

According to a report in the Economic Times, the two leaders discussed “the Eurasian landscape,” potential Indian investment in Russia to reduce its trade imbalance, the upcoming BRICS summit in Kazan, boosting joint defense manufacturing under the 'Make in India' program, and expanding India's presence in the Far East through the Vladivostok-Chennai maritime corridor. Modi will continue his talks with Putin on Tuesday.

Modi’s visit to Russia, the first since the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict, comes amid intense scrutiny from the West.

The US on Monday expressed its concern over India’s relations with Russia, calling on Modi to “emphasize Ukraine’s territorial integrity” during his meeting with Putin.