Press Trust of india

Jaishankar, Lavrov review India-Russia ties; discuss SCO, G20, BRICS

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Benaulim (Goa): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Thursday carried out a comprehensive review of India-Russia ‘special and privileged strategic partnership’ in the backdrop of Moscow’s increasingly frosty relations with the West over the Ukraine crisis.

The two foreign ministers held an hour-long meeting at a beach resort here in Benaulim on the sidelines of a conclave of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

A Russian readout said the two sides agreed to continue working towards building a “fair multipolar system of interstate relations.”

Lavrov arrived here on a two-day visit on Thursday, a day after Russia accused Ukraine of attacking the Kremlin with drones in an unsuccessful attempt to kill President Vladimir Putin.

“Comprehensive review of our bilateral, global and multilateral cooperation with FM Sergey Lavrov of Russia. Appreciated Russia’s support for India’s SCO presidency. Also discussed issues pertaining to G20 and BRICS,” Jaishankar said in a tweet.

The Russian readout said the two foreign ministers “praised the dynamics of cooperation in key areas of the special and privileged strategic partnership” between India and Russia.

“A trust-based exchange of views on the main issues of bilateral relations, including the schedule of upcoming contacts, as well as topical issues on the global and regional agenda took place,” it said.

“The intention to further strengthen coordination to develop common approaches within the framework of interaction at the most important international platforms, including the SCO, BRICS, the UN and the G20 was confirmed,”it added.

There was no official word on whether trade-related issues figured in the talks. India has been pressing Russia to urgently address the trade imbalance that has been in favour of Moscow.

India’s trade deficit with Russia jumped significantly in the last few months after it procured significant volumes of discounted crude oil from that country in the backdrop of the Ukraine crisis.

India’s economic engagement with Russia has been on a major upswing in the last year, largely due to its procurement of discounted Russian oil.

India has not yet condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and it has been pushing for resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy.

Russia has been firmly supporting India’s SCO presidency as well.

The SCO is an influential economic and security bloc and has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations.

The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

India and Pakistan became its permanent members in 2017.

India was made an observer at the SCO in 2005 and has generally participated in the ministerial-level meetings of the grouping, which focus mainly on security and economic cooperation in the Eurasian region.

India has shown a keen interest in deepening security-related cooperation within the SCO member nations and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence.

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