New Delhi: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow values its relationship with Delhi highly and will continue to develop ties.
In response to a WION question during his presser, Lavrov said, “We value our relationship highly. It is no coincidence that it is a special privilege strategic partnership and we are going to keep developing and advance that partnership.”
Russian President Putin had visited India last month for the annual India-Russia summit. That month also saw first-ever India, Russia defence and foreign minister meeting that will alternate between the two countries. The Russian foreign minister said President Putin had “very useful negotiations” in Delhi and both “President and the Prime Minister (Modi) managed to spend several hours talking and that was a very useful exchange.”
Defence and Space form the main pillar of the partnership between the two countries. BrahMos Missile System as well as the licensed production in India of SU-30 aircraft and T-90 tanks, are examples of such flagship cooperation in defence sector. In space cooperation, Russia trained 4 Indian cosmonauts will be part of the Gaganyaan mission– India’s first manned space mission.
In response to RIC summit or Russia, India, China summit, FM Lavrov termed RIC grouping as an “important structure”, pointing that the foreign minister met “some 20 times since the creation of RIC.” He highlighted that there are “sectoral meetings between ministers, their deputies, experts on trade, economic, and humanitarian cooperation”.
Last year, the foreign ministers of RIC countries had met virtually. Leaders of the RIC countries met on the sidelines of the G20 summits. The last leaders’ level meeting at the level of PM Modi, Chinese President Xi and Russia’s Putin took place on the sidelines of the Osaka G20 summit. But Chinese aggressive action at line of actual control with India might make the holding of such meetings difficult.
Russian Foreign minister said, “We see that our Indian friends and Chinese friends are interested in keeping this format going forward and in developing this format going forward.” He added, “I know India and China have a direct dialogue on many issues including security issue, I know there is declaration of strategic partnership between India and China” but if “RIC may be useful for strengthening trust and confidence-building this is something we are going to support”.
Russian Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov is hopeful for the summit, was the first to talk about the meet happening this year. For Russia, both India and China have been close allies.
Lavrov said, “apart from political significance of this RIC format, the 3 countries are part of single geographical space, RIC format also deals with economic formats of cooperation which are promising.” Russia, China, India are part of the SCO, BRICS groupings.