NEW DELHI (QHA) -

The head of Crimea Sergey Aksyonov, paid unofficial visit to New Delhi on Thursday as President Vladimir Putin met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a summit.

Sergey Aksyonov met a Mumbai businessman to discuss boosting trade with the Black Sea region.

Russian officials declined to comment, but a senior diplomat arrived with Mr. Aksyonov at an upscale New Delhi hotel for the meeting to sign a memorandum with a business group called the Indian-Crimean Partnership.

A spokesman for India's Ministry of External Affairs said he was not officially aware of the Crimean visit and that Mr. Aksyonov was not a member of Putin's delegation.

India does not back Western sanctions against Russia, but the unofficial trip by Sergey Aksyonov could spoil the mood before Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosts U.S. President Barack Obama for India's Republic Day festivities in January.

QHA