Prime Minister Narendra Modi held bilateral talks with President Vladimir Putin on Thursday on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, and said the friendship between India and Russia was deep-rooted.

Modi was meeting Putin after their informal meeting in May in the Black Sea coastal city of Sochi in Russia in May. The two leaders also met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit in Qingdao, China, in June.

“Wide-ranging and productive talks with President Putin. India’s friendship with Russia is deep-rooted and our countries will continue working together in multiple sectors,” Prime Minister Modi said in a tweet tagging @KremlinRussia.

The two leaders had a comprehensive discussion on bilateral issues of mutual interest, especially in trade, investment, energy, defence and tourism, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet later.

The Modi-Putin meeting got over at midnight local time, he said.

During their meeting in Sochi in May, India and Russia elevated their strategic partnership to a “special privileged strategic partnership”.

Modi arrived in Johannesburg on Wednesday to attend the two-day BRICS Summit. The theme of the summit is ‘BRICS in Africa’.

India and South Africa signed three agreements, including in the areas of agriculture and space cooperation, following bilateral talks between Modi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on the sidelines of the BRICS summit.

Addressing the media on Thursday evening, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said both leaders expressed satisfaction at the growth of bilateral trade.

India-South Africa trade stood at a little over $4.1 billion till the end of August last year.

“Among the areas the Prime Minister said the South African companies should be exploring in India are defence, food processing and health insurance,” Gokhale said.

The two sides signed three agreements on cooperation in exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, setting up of Mahatma Gandhi-Nelson Mandela Centre of specialisation for artisan skills, and agricultural research and education.

This was Modi’s first meeting with Ramaphosa after the latter assumed office in February this year.

BRICS is a grouping of emerging nations formed in 2009 and comprises five countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Representing over 40 per cent of the world’s population, the block’s growth rates surpass those of the developed countries of the G7.

(With agency inputs)