India's foreign minister Subramanyam Jaishankar to meet Sergey Lavrov in Russia

New Delhi and Moscow are old allies and India calls Russia a time-tested friend

Indian foreign minister Subramanyam Jaishankar, right, and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in New Delhi in April. AP
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India’s foreign minister Subramanyam Jaishankar will hold talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov during a visit to Moscow next month, the Russian embassy to India has said.

Mr Jaishankar will travel to Moscow on November 8 — the first visit by an Indian politician since the conflict with Ukraine ― where he will meet Mr Lavrov.

“The ministers will discuss the current state of bilateral relations and the international agenda,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

The two diplomats had met in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly’s annual session in the US.

Mr Jaishankar’s visit is significant because this will be the first visit by an Indian minister to Russia since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Mr Lavrov visited New Delhi in April to strengthen bilateral ties amid widespread criticism and sanctions from the West for the war.

He held extensive talks with Mr Jaishankar and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “best regards” message personally.

India and Russia are old allies and India calls it a “time-tested friend”.

Russia is India’s largest weapons supplier and both nations consider the other a strategic partner.

New Delhi started buying discounted oil from Moscow to fulfil its energy requirements since the war began and has since tripled its oil imports from Moscow to fulfil its energy requirements.

India has consistently refused to explicitly condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has pursued an independent policy, despite pressure from its western friends that want New Delhi to join its camp against Russia.

It has repeatedly abstained from voting on the western-backed resolutions at the UN,

But in recent months, India has expressed its concerns over the ongoing war that has triggered an economic crisis with shortages of fuel, fertiliser and food grains around the world.

Mr Jaishankar and Mr Modi have both reiterated the need to end the war and hold “dialogue and diplomacy” to resolve issues.

Updated: October 28, 2022, 7:12 AM