External affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar discussed the effects of the Ukraine war, bilateral trade, terrorism and climate change during a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday.
In his opening remarks at the bilateral talks, EAM Dr Jaishankar said that the “Ukraine conflict” – which Moscow calls its “special military operation” – has aggravated the global economy which, he said, was already under stress due to the Covid pandemic and the resultant supply chain constraints.
“The last few years of the Covid pandemic, financial pressures and trade difficulties have taken a toll on the global economy. We are now seeing the consequences of the Ukraine conflict on top of that,” the Indian foreign minister told Russian officials.
He further said: “There are also the more perennial issues of terrorism and climate change, both of which have a disruptive impact on progress and prosperity.”
Officials of India and Russia have been in a “strong and continuing” contact at various levels, he said, adding, “At the official level, I think, our colleagues have been in regular touch. And this is all very much in the spirit of our relationship.”
The two sides also assessed the progress in bilateral cooperation, and exchanged perspectives on the international situation and “what that means to our respective interests”.
The EAM said that India and Russia aim to fashion “a contemporary, balanced, mutually beneficial, sustainable and long-term engagement”.
“Especially as our economic cooperation increases, this is a significant imperative.”
Calling the India-Russia bilateral relations “exceptionally steady and time-tested”, Jaishankar said: “India and Russia engage each other in an increasingly multi-polar and re-balanced world.”
It was the fifth meeting of Dr Jaishankar and Lavrov this year. “That speaks of our long-term partnership and the importance that we attach to each other,” he said.
Just months before the Ukraine war started, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited India and held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December last year. Both leaders met again in September this year.
In August, defence minister Rajnath Singh spoke to his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu and discussed bilateral defence cooperation as well as the situation in Ukraine. Union minister Mansukh Mandaviyaand National Security Advisor Ajit Doval also paid a visit to Russia in July and August respectively.