Bilateral relations, Ukraine: what Prime Minister Modi and EAM discussed with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, a longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was in New Delhi for an official visit on Friday. The visit came at a time when Russia was the target of much criticism over the invasion of Ukraine.

During his visit, Lavrov met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and briefed him on the situation in Ukraine, including ongoing peace negotiations.

“The Prime Minister reiterated his call for an early cessation of violence and conveyed India’s readiness to contribute in any way to the peace efforts. The Russian Foreign Minister also briefed the Prime Minister on the status of the decisions taken at the India-Russia Bilateral Summit held in Dec. 2021,” a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister (PMC) reads.

MEETING JAISHANKAR-LAVROV

Earlier today, Sergei Lavrov and Minister of External Affairs (EAM) S Jaishankar attended a closed meeting of Russian and Indian delegations at Hyderabad House in the nation’s capital.

“EAM stressed that as a developing economy, global volatility in different areas is of particular concern to India. It is important for both countries that their economic, technological and people-to-people contacts remain stable and predictable” , says a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA).

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The statement added that the two ministers discussed developments regarding Ukraine and the situation in Afghanistan, in addition to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.

Referring to Ukraine, EAM Jaishankar stressed the importance of the cessation of violence and the end of hostilities. Differences and disputes should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy and through respect for international law, the UN Charter, sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also shared his assessment of the recent Afghanistan conference in China during the closed meeting.

Ahead of the meeting, Lavrov told a special briefing that developing strategic partnerships with India was Russia’s priority, adding that the two countries had “intensified” their bilateral context.

Meanwhile, EAM Jaishankar said staying in regular contact is in the mutual interest of India and Russia.

JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE

EAM Jaishankar and its Russian counterpart also held a joint press conference later in the day.

At the press conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said India could mediate between Moscow and Kyiv if New Delhi “sees that role playing that solves the problem.”

“I believe Indian foreign policy is characterized by independence and focus on genuine legitimate national interests. The same policy is based in the Russian Federation and that makes us as great countries good friends and loyal partners,” added the Russian Foreign Minister. .

READ: Russia won’t stand up for India if China violates ALC again, says US NSA deputy

Asked about the pressure exerted on India by the United States and European countries to downgrade relations with Russia, Sergei Lavrov said: “I have no doubt that any pressure will not affect our partnership… They [US] force others to follow their policy.”

“I can’t imagine India taking a stand because they are under some kind of pressure. We respect India’s position, its focus on the basics, which is that Indian foreign policy is based on its national interest,” he added.

UKRAINE

“You called it a war, which is not true. This is a special operation, the military infrastructure is targeted. The goal is to deprive the kyiv regime of building the capacity to pose a threat to Russia “, Lavrov told a reporter in response. to a question about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

He added: “Negotiations will continue. You have heard our negotiators talk about the last round of negotiations in Istanbul, where the Ukrainian side put on paper its understanding of the agreement that needs to be reached. These agreements should be finalized. We come up with an answer.

“So there is certainly progress in terms of admitting Ukraine’s ineligibility to be part of a bloc…it’s about their neutral status. It’s already a necessity. Now we have reached an agreement with another reality… situation with Crimea and Donbass… we are working on it, and we will announce it.”

INDIA-RUSSIA LINKS

On whether India and Russia are trying to work out a ruble-rupee system to conduct bilateral trade, Lavrov said: “We need to find ways around the obstacles. Efforts to switch from the dollar to the national currency will intensify”.

He also said that the Kremlin is ready to supply India with any goods it wants to buy from Russia.

“We will be ready to provide India with any goods that India wants to buy. A way out to circumvent the artificial obstacles created by the illegal unilateral sanctions of the West. This also concerns the field of military and technical cooperation. We have no doubt that a solution will be found and that the respective ministries are working on it.”

Earlier this week, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said each country has its own relationship with Moscow and Washington is not seeking any change in that regard.

“Different countries are going to have their own relationship with the Russian Federation. It’s a historical fact. It’s a geographical fact. It’s not something we’re looking to change,” Price said during a briefing. press in Washington. .

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