Terming India-Russia relations as ''time tested'', External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Tuesday said the partnership between the two countries is important for global peace, security and stability.
After holding a discussion with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Jaishankar in his opening remarks, said, "We are both cognizant of the multi-polar and rebalanced nature of international relations today. We both understand the importance of our relationship to global peace, security and stability. And, therefore, as Foreign Ministers, we work hard to deliver on that responsibility."
During the talks, both leaders covered the preparations for Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to India for the annual summit later this year. They also talked about the longstanding partnership in nuclear, space and defence sectors.
Jaishankar said, "We assessed positively our economic cooperation, noting the new opportunities in Russian Far East. We spoke of connectivity, including the International North-South Transport Corridor and the Chennai-Vladivostok Eastern Maritime Corridor. Our rapidly expanding energy cooperation that now includes long-term commitments was also on the agenda."
"On my part, I briefed Minister Lavrov on recent developments in India that open up new opportunities for Russian businesses in various sectors. The Atmrbhar Bharat economic vision can facilitate a more contemporary economic relationship in the post-Covid era," he added.
India and Russia appreciated each other for continuing the pace of progress in relations even after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"This review of our bilateral cooperation was really encouraging. We note the appetite for greater investments in each other by both countries. Russian support for our Gaganyaan program has progressed which we deeply appreciate. Our defence sector requirements in the past year were expeditiously addressed. And in meeting the Covid challenge, our pharmaceutical collaboration has become more serious and as many of you are aware we have a Russian vaccine under discussion for production in India," Jaishankar said in opening remarks.
Both the countries also exchanged views and assessments on important regional and global matters. Both ate members of the UN Security Council right now. India a non-permanent member, while Russia is a permanent member.
EAM Jaishankar further said, "Issues on which India is chairing UNSC committees came up in some detail. India has also taken over the Chair of BRICS and RIC from Russia for this year. And our common membership of the G-20, ASEAN-led forums, SCO and CICA added to the substance of our conversation."
"One question on which we spent some time is the unfolding developments in and around Afghstan. As you all know, the Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process conference took place last week, I was in Dushanbe for that. There have been other discussions of a bilateral or plurilateral nature as well. Many more can be expected in the coming days. For India, what happens in Afghstan impacts its security directly. I shared our approach that a durable peace there would require harmonising interests of all, both within and around that country. The peace process must be based on foundational principles to which we all subscribe. And a political solution should mean an independent, sovereign, united and democratic Afghstan," Jaishankar said.
The Indo-Pacific region was also discussed between the two leaders. "I shared our viewpoints on the Indo-Pacific. As our Prime Minister pointed out at the Shangri-La Dialogue some years ago, contemporary challenges require countries to work together in new and different ways. Such cooperation also reflects the multi-polar and rebalanced character of global politics. India is strongly committed to ASEAN centrality and this is underlined by the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative that it has been advocating at the East-Asia summit. As we implement our Act East and beyond policy, Russia is a very important partner. Whether it is their Far East or whether it is the Chennai-Vladivostok Corridor," said Jaishankar.
( With inputs from ANI )
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