India, Russia to boost energy ties, defence item production | India News – Times of India

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Amid continued efforts by the West to pin Russia down in Ukraine, external affairs minister S Jaishankar backed ties with Moscow, calling it a valued and time-tested partner with which India enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship that’s based on strategic convergence and geopolitical interests and realities.
Jaishankar met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Wednesday for bilateral talks that saw them discussing ways to further enhance energy ties and to augment defence cooperation through joint production of military equipment.They also focused on the situation in Gaza and Ukraine while discussing regional and global issues. Significantly, Jaishankar got an audience with President Vladimir Putin later in the day.
In what was their 7th meeting this year, Lavrov reiterated Russia’s support to India’s candidature for permanent membership of the Security Council, while lauding India’s G20 presidency for not allowing the joint communique to be biased or one-sided. Lavrov underscored the importance of energy ties, which has seen India emerging as one of the largest importers of Russian fuels, saying it’s a strategic area for India-Russia relations and that he and Jaishankar agreed on the expansion of exports of hydrocarbons to the Indian market as well as cooperation for peaceful uses of nuclear energy.India and China remain the only two major powers to have never explicitly condemned Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Jaishankar said after his meeting with Lavrov that PM Modi will have his annual summit with Putin next year. The summit couldn’t take place in 2022 and 2023, as Putin remained focused on the war in Ukraine and India was engaged in hosting the G20 summit.
“We discussed the prospects of military and technical cooperation, including the joint production of modern weaponry. Our cooperation is of strategic nature and strengthening it corresponds to the national interests of states, and to the interest of security in the Eurasian continent,” said Lavrov.
Stating that India-Russia relations remained “very steady, very strong”, Jaishankar said long-term arrangements were discussed in areas like trade, energy, fertiliser and coking coal. “We discussed mutual investments, the need to progress on a bilateral investment treaty. We spoke about railways yesterday (Tuesday), 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,” added Jaishankar.

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