Amid Ukraine war Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov on visit to India

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will be in Delhi from March 31 to April 1 amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Minister will hold talks with External Affairs Minister Jaishankar on April 1, the main day of their engagement in the Indian capital. Several things will be on the agenda, including trade under the rupee-ruble mechanism, which the Indian finance ministry is looking at amid Western sanctions on Moscow.

The Russian Foreign Minister will be in Delhi on the day UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss is in the Indian capital to hold talks with Foreign Minister Jaishankar.

“The Truss will hold bilateral consultations with External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

Truss will also participate in the inaugural edition of the India-UK Strategic Futures Forum, a Track 1.5 dialogue between the two countries organized by the Indian Council for World Affairs and Policy Exchange, UK.

Lavrov’s visit will be the first high-level visit by a Russian official to India since February 24, when the offensive began. The invasion has changed global geopolitical calculus with that of the West and Russia.

New Delhi is engaged on both sides in the midst of the war, even though it has been able to demonstrate its strategic autonomy. At the United Nations, India refrained from voting on Ukraine-Russia resolutions on West-backed resolutions or, more recently, on Russia-backed resolutions on Ukraine, while it has been calling for direct talks between Moscow and Kyiv.

“We have expressed deep concern over the deteriorating situation and called for an immediate cessation of violence and an end to all hostilities,” External Affairs Minister Jaishankar said in Parliament.

Both the Indian and Russian foreign ministers spoke to each other on February 24 and since then the Russian people in Delhi have had a variety of outreach, including the meeting of Russian FM Lavrov from the BRICS countries including Indian envoy Pavan Kapoor.

Last week, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko met Indian Ambassador to Russia Kapoor and apprised him of the situation in Ukraine. Rudenko has been part of the Russian delegation that held talks with the Ukrainian side.

PM Modi is expected to travel to Russia later this year for the annual India-Russia summit.

Russian President Putin had visited Delhi on 6 December for the annual summit. The second 2+2 Foreign and Defense Ministers meeting will also be held in Russia this year. India’s External Affairs Minister and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Russia for talks. The expected visit of the Russian foreign minister also comes as India and the US will hold a 2+2 foreign and defense ministers meeting in the second week of April.

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