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Russian Foreign Minister to arrive in New Delhi next week — Ukraine, regional security on agenda

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will be in New Delhi next week to hold talks with his Indian counterpart, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and also participate in the meeting of G20 Foreign Ministers.

Lavrov and Jaishankar are expected to exchange assessments of topical international issues, including interaction under the Indian chairmanship of the SCO and the G20, as well as coordination of approaches in the UN, BRICS and RIC (Russia, India, China).

“A number of regional topics will be touched upon, including the formation of a security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region, the state of affairs in Afghanistan, and the situation in Ukraine,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in Moscow on Lavrov’s March 1-3 visit to the Indian capital.

Zakharova detailed that the heads of the foreign ministries of Russia and India will discuss ways to further advance cooperation in key areas, as well as “synchronize watches” on the schedule of upcoming contacts.

“The main thematic blocks are trade and investment, transport and logistics cooperation, the use of national currencies in mutual settlements, and promising projects in the energy sector,” she added.

Moscow stated that it considers the G20 platform as a key forum for global governance.

“The demand for diplomatic dialogue through the G20 has increased significantly against the backdrop of a progressive confrontation in international relations, growing risks for the global economy, and de facto bullying by Western political regimes,” commented Zakharova on Wednesday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson told reporters that during the G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting, held under the unifying slogan of the Indian chairmanship about the commonality of the planet and its future, it is planned to touch upon the issues of capacity building and reform of international institutions, strengthening the positions of developing states in making collective decisions.

Russia India
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with Prime Minister Narendra Modi (File image courtesy: Twitter/MFA_Russia)

The focus of attention will also be the topics of energy and food security, the fight against terrorism.

“The conceptual framework of the upcoming discussions set by the Indians corresponds to the logic of the formation of a polycentric world economic system.

“On the Russian side, it is meant to focus on building equal and mutually respectful interstate cooperation, reaffirm the central role of the UN and international law, once again draw attention to the perniciousness of illegitimate sanctions, unfair competition, protectionism and the urgency in this regard of collective opposition to Western domination and neo-colonial practices,” said Zakharova.

Lavrov is expected to hold several other important meetings on the sidelines of the Council of Foreign Ministers with Moscow working out contacts with the Minister and colleagues from other states, in particular Brazil and China besides India.

During his stay in New Delhi, Lavrov will also take part in one of the sessions of India’s annual premier conference on geopolitics and geoeconomics, the Raisina Dialogue.

India and Russia continue to take their ‘Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership’ to a new high in spite of the current volatile global geostrategic situation.

Even during the Ukraine conflict, which completes one year on Friday, Jaishankar has stayed in constant touch with his Russian counterpart, holding discussions with him on the sidelines of various international forums and also in Moscow last November.

India continues to bat for peace in the region and has repeatedly stated that it remains “deeply concerned” about the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has also showered praise on “patriot” Prime Minister Narendra Modi and “talented” Indians while appreciating the ‘Make in India’ initiative and India’s “independent” foreign policy.

“Prime Minister Modi is the man, one of those people in the world, who is able to pursue an independent foreign policy in the interests of his people. Despite any attempts to restrain something, to limit something, he, you know, as an icebreaker, is moving calmly in the direction necessary for the Indian state,” Putin said last October while addressing the final plenary session of the Moscow-based international framework Valdai International Discussion Club.

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