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India-Russia relations reflect geopolitical realities, strategic convergence and mutual benefit: EAM Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov during a joint press statement after their meeting, in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2023. (Photo: @DrSJaishankar/Twitter)

MOSCOW (PTI): India-Russia relations reflect geopolitical realities, strategic convergence and mutual benefit, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar said Wednesday as he held a wide-ranging and "useful" meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow 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 the UN.

"A wide-ranging and useful meeting with FM Sergey Lavrov of Russia. As strategic partners, 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," the EAM 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 during a joint media appearance along with Lavrov after talks.

"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 all of this will give you a good sense of the importance and value that we attach to the relationship," he added.

In his opening remarks at the meeting, Jaishankar said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin have been in frequent contact.

"Our relations have been very strong, very steady. And 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.

During Wednesday’s meeting, the two sides focussed on bilateral cooperation in different spheres, adjusting it to changing circumstances and demands.

Jaishankar said the two sides have seen different expressions of their cooperation this year. "I will also mention our presence at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum at the Far Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok at the meetings. And on the bilateral economic cooperation the India, Russia inter-governmental commission, which I had co-chaired with Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov," he said.

"We are very glad to see continued progress and we expect a strong Russian participation at the Vibrant Gujarat meeting in January," he added.

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.

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.

India's import of Russian crude oil has gone up significantly despite increasing disquiet over it in many Western countries.

"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," the Ministry of External Affairs said in a press release ahead of Jaishankar's visit.

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