PM Modi In Russia: In a significant development, Russia has agreed to discharge and facilitate the return of all Indian nationals serving in the Russian Army after Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin, news agency ANI reported citing sources.

This move follows India’s strong concerns about the recruitment of Indian nationals into the Russia-Ukraine conflict, especially after the deaths of two Indians. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had previously raised the issue with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, before the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit on July 4.

During his two-day visit to Moscow, PM Modi addressed the issue of Indian nationals serving in the Russian Army at a private dinner hosted by Putin on Monday evening. Russia agreed to discharge all Indians from their army and facilitate their return. At the dinner, Putin also congratulated PM Modi on his re-election for a third term and praised the rising stature of the Indian economy, sources added.

In recent months, several cases have emerged of Indians being lured to Russia with promises of lucrative jobs or education, only to end up fighting against Ukraine. Indian police, in May, arrested four people who were linked to the human trafficking network behind the practice.

Thousands of people have died on both sides since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Despite this, India, which has maintained a close relationship with Moscow for decades, has refused to condemn Russia for the war, instead calling for an end to the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy.

Other South Asian nations have warned their citizens against being lured into joining the Russian army. Sri Lanka has tightened controls to prevent its citizens from being deceived, with the government saying that dozens who want to return home are already fighting in the war. Similarly, Nepal stated in May that several of its citizens have been illegally recruited to join the Russian army, with at least 200 estimated to be serving at the front and about 100 missing, Reuters reported