In Russia, PM Modi Cites Mahatma Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy's Friendship

PM Modi said that Russian writer-philosopher Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi had an "indelible effect" on each others lives.

In Russia, PM Modi Cites Mahatma Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy's Friendship

PM Modi addressed the plenary session of the 5th Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.

Vladivostok, Russia:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that Russian writer-philosopher Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi had a "indelible effect" on each other and said that Indian and Russia must take inspiration from them to strengthen bilateral ties.

Speaking at the plenary session of the 5th Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, PM Modi said that India and Russia must be bigger stakeholders in each other's development.

"This year, the entire world is celebrating Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary. Tolstoy and Gandhi had an indelible effect on each other. Let India and Russia make their relations better by taking inspiration from them. Let both the nations become bigger stakeholders in each other's development," PM Modi said.

"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 added.

Mahatma Gandhi was profoundly inspired and influenced by Leo Tolstoy. Though they never met personally in their life, they wrote letters to each other.

In his autobiography, Mahatma Gandhi had talked about how Leo Tolstoy's book, ''The Kingdom of God is Within You'', which he read during a train journey from Johannesburg to Durban in South Africa, changed his life.

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He was so deeply impressed with the book that he wrote a letter to Leo Tolstoy and maintained correspondence with him thereafter.

The book, Mahatma Gandhi wrote, made a deeper impression on him, and opened his vision to the infinite possibilities of universal love. Their correspondence proved to be epoch-making in Indo-Russian relations.

On Wednesday, Russia had announced that it will launch a special stamp to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary.

PM Modi, who arrived in Russia on a two-day visit on Wednesday, is the first Indian prime minister to visit to the country's Far East Region. He participated in the 20th India-Russia annual summit with President Vladimir Putin.