INDIAN prime minister Narendra Modi on Thursday (5) said Russian writer-philosopher Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi had an “indelible effect” on each other and urged the two nations to take inspiration from them to further strengthen the bilateral ties.
Speaking at the plenary session of the 5th Eastern Economic Forum here, Modi said India and Russia should be a bigger stakeholder in each other’s development.
“This year entire world is observing Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary. Tolstoy and Gandhi had a indelible effect on each other. Let India and Russia make their ties more significant by taking inspiration from it. Let both the nations become a bigger stakeholder in each other’s development,” Modi said.
He said India and Russia should jointly work towards its shared region and also for a stable and secure future of the world.
“Let’s work together for our shared region and towards a stable and secure future of the world. This would be a new beginning of our partnership,” he said.
Gandhi was profoundly inspired and influenced by Russian writer-philosopher Tolstoy. Though they never met personally in their life-time, both shared an unique bond and exchanged ideas through letters.
In his autobiography, Gandhi has written how Tolstoy’s book, ‘The Kingdom of God is Within You’, which he read on October 1, 1904, during a train journey from Johannesburg to Durban in South Africa, changed his life.
He was so deeply impressed with the book that he wrote a letter to Tolstoy on October 1, 1909, and maintained correspondence with him thereafter.
The book, Gandhi wrote, made a deeper impression on him, and opened his vision to the infinite possibilities of universal love.
The correspondence between Tolstoy and Gandhi became epoch-making in the golden chapter of the Indo-Russian relations.
The Russian Government on Wednesday announced that it will launch a special stamp to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary.
Modi, who arrived in Russia on a two-day visit on Wednesday (4), is the first Indian prime minister to visit the Russian Far East Region.
He participated in the 20th India-Russia annual summit with President Vladimir Putin.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Modi held wide-ranging talks with President Putin and the two signed 15 agreements, MoUs to strengthen bilateral ties.