Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited India, April 5-6, 2021, as part of an official bilateral visit. The Russian Minister interacted on several poignant diplomatic issues with his Indian counterpart, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
A significant point of discussion between the two leaders was vaccine production in the backdrop of the Coronavirus pandemic. Russia had already agreed to produce the Sputnik V vaccine in India and does not exclude production of Indian Covid-19 vaccines in Russia. The Russian top diplomat also discussed defence cooperation and joint arms production with the Indian foreign minister.
Lavrov reiterated that Russia is the only country “that actually provides India with cutting-edge defense technologies” yet respects India’s right to diversify its ties in this sphere. At the same time, Moscow does not feel “any hesitation” on the part of New Delhi over Washington’s pressure, since the United States expresses serious discontent with the Indo-Russo military and technical cooperation.
Another major talking point were about the conflicts in the Asian subcontinent.Lavrov cited that Moscow welcomes the recent steps by both India and Pakistan on normalising bi-lateral relations and desired that New Delhi manage to find ways of settling its border standoff with Beijing along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The Russian chief diplomat said. In general, Moscow is ready to “facilitate in every possible way” a peaceful resolution of conflicts in South Asia. The Russian Foreign Minister further reiterated Moscow’s stance regarding US actions in Asia: Russia is strongly against “dividing geopolitical frameworks” being built under Washington’s auspices and expressly supports “open frameworks” formed with the central role of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The two ministers also discussed the preparations for President Putin’s visit to India for the Annual Summit later this year. “Much of our discussion today covered the preparations for President Putin’s visit for the Annual Summit later this year. I am sure Minister Lavrov would share my assessment that our bilateral cooperation remains energetic and forward looking. We talked about longstanding partnership in nuclear, space and defence sectors. 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, said the Indian Foreign Ministers statement in view of Putin’s visit.