No Modi-Putin summit this year after they met in September- Indian govt source

India's Prime Minister Modi attends a meeting with Russia's President Putin in New Delhi

By Krishna N. Das and Shivam Patel

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin will not hold an annual in-person summit this year, an Indian government source said on Friday, after the two held discussions on the sidelines of an event in September.

Bloomberg News reported earlier in the day that the decision to cancel the summit was taken after veiled threats by Putin to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war.

The government source, who declined to be named citing the sensitivity of the matter, said the decision not to hold a summit was taken much earlier and that the nuclear angle was not a factor.

Putin visited New Delhi in December last year for the 21st India–Russia annual summit.

Spokespeople for India's foreign ministry and the Russian embassy in New Delhi did not respond to Reuters requests for comment on the Bloomberg report.

Modi and Putin met on the sidelines of a regional security bloc summit in Uzbekistan in September and have spoken on the phone a number of times this year, including on the subject of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

India, which has become one of the biggest buyers of Russian oil along with China since the war began in February, has not explicitly condemned what Russia calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine.

A Russian official told Bloomberg that India’s decision not to hold a summit was clear at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan, where Modi told Putin that this was "not an era of war".

Putin has issued a series of thinly veiled nuclear threats during the course of the Ukraine war, but several top officials have repeatedly denied Moscow plans to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine and have accused the West of upping the nuclear ante.

(Reporting by Shivam Patel and Krishna N. Das in New Delhi; Editing by Mark Heinrich nd Nick Macfie)