India, Russia discuss deepening of partnership in trade, space, defence, energy

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 06, 2021

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar during a meeting in New Delhi, on Tuesday   -  REUTERS

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov says possibility of additional manufacturing of military equipment was taken up

India and Russia discussed ways to deepen bilateral partnership in sectors such as investment, energy, military equipment production, nuclear and space, and moving ahead on talks for a Free Trade Agreement between India and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), in consultations between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday.

“We discussed prospective and additional manufacturing of Russian military equipment in India within the concept ‘Made in India’. So here, I didn’t see any changes from our Indian partners and friends,” Lavrov said at a press briefing after talks with Jaishankar.

Energy cooperation

Discussions also focussed on the expanding energy cooperation between the two countries and views were also exchanged on regional and global matters.

“We talked about long-standing 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,” Jaishankar said.

As the annual India-Russia Summit between the Indian Prime Minister and the Russian President could not take place last year due to Covid-19, the two countries are trying to make it possible this year. “Much of our discussions today covered the preparations for President Putin’s visit for the Annual Summit later this year,” Jaishankar added.

India had entered into a deal with Russia to buy S-400 surface-to-air missile systems in 2018 despite warnings of sanctions from the United States. Since then, the US has been trying to convince India to get out of the deal. Specifics on the matter were not shared at the press conference.

Lavrov pointed out that there was a drop in bilateral trade due to the Covid-19 pandemic and both sides needed to discuss ways to boost both trade and investments. Both countries are also keen on moving forward on the negotiations for an FTA between India and the EAEU in a way that is mutually beneficially. The EAEU includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.

Jaishankar said that he shared with his Russian counterpart India’s approach on Afghanistan. “For India, what happens in Afghanistan 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 Afghanistan.

India also shared its viewpoint 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,” he said.

Published on April 06, 2021

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