Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has backed out of an annual Russia-India summit because of Russian President Vladimir Putin's threats to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Bloomberg reported Friday citing an anonymous source in the Indian government.
Modi believes that drawing too much attention to the relationship with the Kremlin could be damaging to his image, the unnamed official allegedly told Bloomberg.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed Friday that the December summit won’t be held this year, although he didn’t specify a reason.
Putin has repeatedly engaged in nuclear saber-rattling over Ukraine, warning Wednesday of a “growing” threat of nuclear war during a meeting of the Kremlin's Human Rights Council.
While Modi publicly criticized Putin in September over the invasion of Ukraine, India has not condemned Moscow in the same way as Western countries.
In addition to abstaining from United Nations resolutions condemning the Russian invasion, Delhi has refrained from imposing economic sanctions and took part in the Russia-led Vostok-2022 military drills in August.
The leaders of Russia and India have held bilateral meetings every year since 2000 with the exception of during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.