EAM Jaishankar to hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Dy PM Manturov during 2-day visit to Russia

Economic cooperation between India and Russia in various fields is expected to feature prominently during Foreign Minister S Jaishankar’s visit to Moscow on Monday amid the conflict in Ukraine.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had previously announced that Jaishankar would visit Russia on November 7-8 and meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Denis Manturov Industry. Russia announced Jaishankar’s visit last week. He said issues relating to bilateral economic cooperation would feature in the Jaishankar-Manturov talks.

“The Minister of Foreign Affairs will also meet with Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and Minister of Trade and Industry Denis Manturov, his counterpart from the Indo-Russian Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Culture (IRIGC-TEC),” Bagchi said.

“Issues relating to bilateral economic cooperation in various fields will be discussed,” he said.

Asked about the Ukraine conflict, Bagchi said India had always insisted on the need to return to diplomacy and dialogue to resolve it, adding, “I’m sure the foreign minister would definitely repeat that.” “I cannot prejudge what the talks will be,” he said, noting that India is “looking at the economic elements” and also an exchange of views and discussions on “political developments”.

Bagchi said the visit would be a continuation of the regular high-level dialogue between the two sides.

Jaishankar last visited Russia in July last year, followed by a visit to India by Lavrov in April. In recent months, India has increased its imports of discounted crude oil from Russia despite growing concern over it from several Western powers.

Jaishankar and Lavrov have already met four times after the start of the conflict in Ukraine in February.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited India last December to attend the annual India-Russia Summit. The two countries have a mechanism whereby the Indian prime minister and the Russian president hold a summit meeting every year to review the full range of ties. It’s Prime Minister Modi’s turn to travel to Russia for this year’s summit. However, there is no clarity yet on this year’s summit.

Since the start of the Ukrainian conflict in February, Modi has spoken several times with Putin as well as with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In a phone conversation with Zelenskyy on October 4, Modi said there could be “no military solution” and that India was ready to help in any peace effort.

During a bilateral meeting with Putin in the Uzbek city of Samarkand on September 16, Modi told him that “the era of today is not one of war”.

India has yet to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and maintains that the crisis must be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue. Russia has been a tried and tested partner for India and the country has been a key pillar of New Delhi’s foreign policy.

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