Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to arrive in India today

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is set to begin his two-day bilateral visit to India on Monday, which will present an opportunity to discuss aspects of bilateral ties and review preparations for the pending India-Russia annual summit later this year.

“The visit will be a unique opportunity to discuss important aspects of our bilateral ties, also to review preparations for the next India Russia annual summit and also perhaps discuss regional and international issues of mutual interest,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said.

The India and Russia annual summit was postponed last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the countries have a mechanism under which India’s prime minister and the Russian president hold a summit meeting annually to review the entire gamut of ties.

So far 20 annual summit meetings have taken place alternately in India and Russia.

Russia has been a time-tested partner for India and the country has been a key pillar of New Delhi’s foreign policy.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova on Thursday had said the Russian Foreign Minister, during his visit, will hold talks with his counterpart External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar.

“The heads of the foreign affairs agencies will discuss the current state of bilateral relations, the preparation of the upcoming high-level meeting this year, including cooperation in the fight against the pandemic, will consider key topics on the regional, global agenda, assess approaches to the interaction between Russia and India on the international arena, including at the UN, BRICS,” Zakharova added.

After India, Lavrov will visit Pakistan. The Russian foreign ministry tweeted that Lavrov will visit Pakistan on April 6 to 7 during which he will hold talks with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. “The Ministers will discuss bilateral ties, including economic cooperation and counterterrorism #RussiaPakistan,” it said.

The foreign minister’s visit to India comes as Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla visited the country in February this year where he met Lavrov and discussed wide-ranging Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between the two countries and ways to further strengthen it.

Shringla had said they discussed some regional and international issues of interest including cooperation in the UN and UNSC where India is a non-permanent member now.

(With agency inputs)

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