New Delhi, Dec 28: India’s Foreign Minister, S Jaishankar, engaged in a pivotal meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on Wednesday. This diplomatic outreach is widely interpreted as part of Russia’s concerted efforts to counterbalance its Western isolation by fortifying ties with key allies, particularly India. Despite apprehensions from Western nations, Jaishankar’s visit underscored the enduring nature of the India-Russia relationship, rooted in substantial defence, nuclear, and space collaborations.
The meeting unfolded against the backdrop of Russia’s strained relations on the global stage, largely due to the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict. As Moscow finds itself increasingly isolated, the imperative to solidify partnerships with countries like India becomes paramount.
Russia expressed sincere gratitude to India for its unwavering support, further extending an invitation to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Moscow—an overture that accentuates the diplomatic significance both nations attribute to their ties.
The India-Russia relationship enjoys robust defence collaboration. India has long been a major beneficiary of Russian military supplies, cementing a strategic partnership between the two nations. Despite the international censure of Russia’s 22-month-long conflict with Ukraine, India has maintained a neutral stance, citing deep-rooted historical connections with Moscow.
The talks between Jaishankar and Putin delved into various facets of bilateral cooperation, underscoring the importance of multilateralism and advocating for a multipolar world order. Jaishankar personally delivered a written letter from Prime Minister Modi to President Putin, reflecting the ongoing diplomatic discourse and the leaders’ commitment to fortifying their ties.
S Jaishankar – Sergey Lavrov Meeting
Before he met with President Putin, Jaishankar engaged in discussions with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, on December 27. Their talks revolved around bilateral cooperation across diverse spheres and addressed the evolving international strategic landscape, conflicts, and tensions.
In a subsequent press conference, Jaishankar expressed gratitude for the warm reception from Lavrov and underscored the stability and strength characterizing the India-Russia relationship. The leaders delved into political cooperation on various international issues, emphasizing their roles in organizations such as BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
Economic collaboration took Centre stage during these discussions. The India-Russia trade turnover exceeded $50 billion last year, reaching an unprecedented high, with expectations of further growth. Both sides acknowledged the balanced and sustainable nature of this trade, providing equitable market access. The leaders also engaged in discussions concerning long-term arrangements in trade, energy, fertilizers, and cooking coal. Energy collaboration was a prominent feature of the talks, with substantive discussions on Indian investments in Russian oil and gas. Progress was noted in the Kudankulam nuclear power project with the signing of two crucial amendments. Connectivity, civil aviation, and tourism were also subjects of discussion, with a specific emphasis on enhancing polar capabilities through collaboration with Russia.
The leaders addressed global strategic issues, spanning the situations in Ukraine, Gaza, the Indo-Pacific, ASEAN, Afghanistan, and UN-related matters. The meeting underscored shared concerns and a close history of cooperation between India and Russia, reinforcing the robustness of their diplomatic ties.
Jaishankar’s visit to Russia, spanning from December 25 to 29, 2023, underscores the ongoing high-level exchanges between the two nations. The time-tested India-Russia partnership remains stable, characterized by the spirit of the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership, highlighting the resilience and adaptability of this relationship.
In the face of global uncertainties and geopolitical realignments, India and Russia continue to navigate the complexities with a shared commitment to strengthening their strategic bonds. As the world witnesses the evolving dynamics of international relations, the India-Russia partnership stands as a testament to the enduring nature of diplomatic ties forged through shared history, mutual trust, and strategic convergence.