Russian President Vladimir Putin will receive External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday, according to an announcement by the Kremlin. “Tonight, the president plans to receive Mr. Jaishankar, India’s foreign minister,” Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters after Jaishankar met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
Peskov noted that the top Indian diplomat had already met with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, saying that India is an important partner of Russia. The Kremlin spokesperson also said that Putin will have several working meetings in the evening, reported TASS news agency.
Notably, Jaishankar held a crucial meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov earlier on Wednesday, where the latter expressed Moscow’s willingness to support India’s initiative to produce military products under its flagship ‘Made in India’ programme. Lavrov said that Russia is ready to launch the production of defense items as part of the initiative.
The two leaders also underlined several steps to expand cooperation between the countries, including the launch of the North-South International Transport Corridor and the Chennai- Vladivostok route. “Our cooperation is of strategic nature, strengthening it corresponds to the national interests of states, the interests of Security in the Eurasian continent,” the Russian minister said in a press briefing after the meet.
Lavrov also said that he and Jaishankar agreed to expand the legal framework of India-Russia relations, particularly in accelerating efforts for the adoption of the agreement on mutual protection of investment. He said that both countries are interested in having an open and fair political and economic system for everyone, noting that the agreements between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin have laid the foundation for a reliable relationship between the two nations.
“Our relationship is very long and very good and it’s good to see they are moving consistently in the present moment. We have a reliable partnership and it’s been confirmed by our bilateral relations based on the agreements by Prime Minister Modi and President Putin,” Lavrov said.
Jaishankar said that the negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between India and the Eurasian Economic Union will resume in January next year. The Eurasian Economic Union is an economic union of five post-Soviet states located in Eurasia, including Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
“We have had a very good session of talks and today, what really came out was India-Russia relationship remains very steady, very strong. They are based on strategic convergence on geopolitical interests and because they are mutually beneficial,” Jaishankar said at the press briefing with Lavrov.
The two leaders also spoke about international issues like the conflict in Ukraine, Gaza, the Indo-Pacific, ASEAN, Afghanistan and UN-related matters. Jaishankar noted that trade between India and Russia is at an all-time high, crossing $50 billion last year.
Jaishankar’s visit to Russia
The external affairs minister arrived in Moscow for a five-day trip, saying that he looked forward to his engagements with the leadership of Russia. His visit is also dubbed crucial as it comes nearly three months before the country is scheduled to hold Presidential elections which the incumbent Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin is expected to return to the chair despite his decision to launch a special military operation against its neighbouring country, Ukraine.
“The time-tested India-Russia partnership has remained stable and resilient and continues to be characterised by the spirit of the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership,” said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) ahead of his visit. In his opening remarks to Lavrov, Jaishankar said that the relationship between India and Russia has been “very strong, very steady” and PM Modi and Putin had been in frequent contact.
On Tuesday, Jaishankar held a “comprehensive and productive” meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Manturov on the bilateral economic cooperation during which they witnessed the signing of some “very important” agreements related to the construction of the future power-generating units of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu.
The ties between India and Russia remained strong notwithstanding Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. India has not yet condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and it has been maintaining that the crisis must be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue.
(with inputs from agencies)