India-Russia relations reflect geopolitical realities, strategic convergence and mutual benefit: Jaishankar | India News – Times of India

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MOSCOW: India-Russia relations reflect geopolitical realities, strategic convergence and mutual benefit, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said Wednesday as he held a wide-ranging meeting with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov here during which they discussed the international situation and contemporary issues.
Jaishankar, who is on a five-day visit to Russia, and Lavrov also exchanged views on the Indo-Pacific region, the Ukraine conflict, the Gaza situation, Afghanistan and Central Asia, BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, G20 and UN-related matters.
“A wide-ranging and useful meeting with FM Sergey Lavrov of Russia. As strategic partners, (we) discussed the international situation and contemporary issues,” Jaishankar said in a post on X.
He noted the progress in bilateral economic cooperation, energy trade, connectivity efforts, military-technical cooperation and people-to-people exchanges. “Signed Protocol on Consultations for the period 2024-28. India-Russia relations reflect geopolitical realities, strategic convergence and mutual benefit,” he added.
Speaking at a joint media appearance along with Lavrov after their meeting, Jaishankar said that the two sides had “a very good session of talks”.
“I think today what clearly came out was that India-Russia relations remain very steady, remain very strong, they are based on our strategic convergence, on our geopolitical interests, and because they are mutually beneficial,” he said.
“For us, Russia is a valued partner, a time-tested partner. It is a relationship from which both India and Russia have benefitted enormously,” Jaishankar said while responding to a question.
“My presence here today and the fact that all the developments that I have pointed out including our growing trade, investments, our military-technical cooperation, our connectivity projects, I think all of this will give you a good sense of the importance and value that we attach to the relationship,” he added.
Jaishankar said the North-South transport corridor is in the interests of the entire global economy. “It is in our interest and not just in our interest, I think in the interest of the global economy that this corridor progresses. And we will give it the highest priority,” he said responding to another question.
Russia, India and Iran signed an agreement on the creation of the North-South multimodal transport corridor in 2000. The number of participants expanded to 14. The project goal is to bring transit freight traffic from India, Iran and Persian Gulf countries via the Russian territory to Europe.
“We appreciate the fact that our trade is at an all-time high. We crossed $50 billion turnover last year. We expect to exceed that this year. And what is important is that this trade is more balanced. It is sustainable, and it provides for fair market access,” Jaishankar said.
The two sides also discussed cooperation in their relationship with the Russian Far East. Jaishankar said that he expects a delegation from the Far East to participate in the Vibrant Gujarat meeting in January.
“We discussed long-term arrangements. We are today, in our trade, energy, fertilizers, and cooking coal are very big components of that. How do we reach long-term arrangements in that regard was a big part of our discussion. We discussed mutual investments, and the need to progress on a bilateral investment treaty,” he said.
“We spoke about railways yesterday, about industrial zone infrastructure. And we have agreed that the negotiations between India and the Eurasian Economic Union for a free trade agreement will be resumed in the second half of January this year,” he said, referring to his meeting with the co-chair of the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission, Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, on Tuesday.
On energy, Jaishankar said the two sides have a very substantial relationship, both in terms of Indian investments in Russia, in oil and gas, which New Delhi is seeking to expand.
“We also spoke about connectivity; connectivity from western India through the International North-South Transport Corridor. Also connectivity from eastern India, from Chennai to Vladivostok and the polar route. We discussed various related areas where India’s polar capabilities could be enhanced in collaboration with Russia,” he added.
He said that civil aviation and tourism was also a subject of discussion. “We would like to see more Russian tourists in India. We have increased the number of flights from India every week, from 52 to 64. We are open to increasing it further.”
In his opening remarks earlier, Jaishankar said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin have been in frequent contact. Jaishankar later said he was confident that the two leaders will meet for an annual summit next year.
“Our relations have been very strong, very steady. I think we have lived up to a special and privileged strategic partnership. This year we have already met six times, and this is our 7th meeting,” he said.
On his part, Lavrov said the relations between India and Russia are very long and very good and it’s good to see that they’re moving on consistently in the present moment.
“We express our heartfelt gratitude to our Indian counterparts for their aspiration to take a responsible approach in considering and resolving regional and global issues, primarily focusing on national interests, the interests of equal and fair international cooperation. This approach is also characteristic of India’s position on the ongoing processes in and around Ukraine, and we have also talked about it,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov also said that Russia supports India’s candidacy for the UN Security Council as he lauded India’s G20 presidency.
“The New Delhi G20 Summit that took place last year was a true triumph of India’s foreign policy; it was a triumph of multilateral diplomacy, which has become possible, to a decisive degree, because the G20 Chair did not allow making the outcome document unilateral. The outcome document reflects the balance of interests,” he said.
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.
India’s import of Russian crude oil has gone up significantly despite increasing disquiet over it in many Western countries.


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