NEW DELHI: With Russia under pressure from the US and Europe, India plans to re-engage with its oldest strategic partner this week, as foreign secretary Harsh Shringla prepares for a series of high level meetings in Moscow on Wednesday.
Shringla is expected to hold discussions with his counterpart Igor Morgulov. This being the first major visit to Russia, the two sides say they have a lot to talk about.
Shringla is expected to brief the Russian side on the India-China disengagement understanding. Both sides will exchange their perceptions of the new Biden administration as well as China and Myanmar. India is engaging with Europe deeply just at a time when the Russia-Europe ties is in shreds.
Both sides are expected to get a measure of their differing perceptions. Russia has been a vocal opponent of the Indo-Pacific and Quad, which has put it at odds with New Delhi. But in a perceptible step back, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told a press conference in January, “I know that India is not going to move this Indo-Pacific cooperation in a way which would be not positive and constructive,” unusually stating that Russia did not want a “misunderstanding” with India on this issue. This was seen as significant in New Delhi.
Describing India as “very close, very strategic, very special, and very privileged partner”, Lavrov said, “Take the spheres of economy, innovation, military-technical and high-tech cooperation. India is one of our closest partners on all these issues.” India is expected to be manufacturing the Russian Covid vaccine Sputnik. India also wants to step up its engagement with Russia in the Far East as well as cooperation in the Arctic region, where Russia is the primary player but China has been seen to be muscling in of late. Shringla will address the Diplomatic Academy in Moscow for a big canvas view of the India-Russia relationship. Lavrov is expected to visit India later this year.
Courtesy – Times Of India