EAM Jaishankar met Russian Foreign Minister on the sidelines of BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting. They discussed several issues of bilateral relations, as well as multilateral matters such as G20 and SCO.
India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar convened with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday in Cape Town. The Foreign Ministers of India and Russia discussed issues of bilateral relations and multilateral importance such as agendas for BRICS, G20, and SCO. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting being held in South Arica.
The meeting took place in the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine war. India has been repeatedly demanded to take a stance on the Russia-Ukraine conflict with the Western powers urging India to denounce its strong bilateral ties with Russia and condemn the latter’s aggression in Ukraine. However, India has towed a fine line of neutrality thus far. This bilateral meeting between EAM Jaishankar and FM Lavrov reinforced India’s stand of not taking sides, and continuing to build bilateral ties with Russia irrespective of the strain between Russia and the West.
Agenda of the Bilateral Meeting
While stating the topics of their discussions, Dr. Jaishankar tweeted that they covered BRICS, India’s G20 Presidency, as well as India’s Chairmanship of SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation). Russia’s state-owned news agency TASS cited a statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry, wherein it stated that the ministers praised the cooperation dynamics on the critical directions of the two nations’ special and privileged alliance. Furthermore, the statement emphasised the discussions on “expanding dialogue” at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, BRICS and the G20, echoing Dr. Jaishankar’s tweet.
As per the statement quoted by TASS, relevant issues of bilateral importance were also discussed, along with global and regional matters. The statement mentioned “the mutual intent” to further their attempts at creating a “multipolar system of transnational ties” by refuting the hegemonic monopolies and disregarding the propagation of neo-colonial practices.
Frequent Meetings Between India and Russia
EAM Jaishankar and FM Lavrov have convened on issues of global importance several times in the recent months. The two foreign ministers held a meeting on 4th May 2023 on the sidelines of Council of Foreign Ministers of SCO hosted by India. In that meeting, they had scrutinised India and Russia’s “special and privileged strategic partnership” as Russia’s relations with the West continue to decay owing to its war with Ukraine.
The two had also shared a table during the G20 Foreign Ministers’ meet in New Delhi on 1st and 2nd March 2023. BRICS marks the third meeting between the two government representatives of India and Russia, indicating the strength of bilateral relations despite pressure from the West to terminate them.
Bilateral Relations between Indian and Russia
Ever since the breakout of the Russia-Ukraine war, bilateral ties between India and Russia have rapidly strengthened. India’s economic relationship with Russia has increased significantly in the last year, owing largely to its purchase of specially discounted Russian oil when the Western countries sanctioned Russian oil and other trades. Russia has also welcomed India’s neutrality on the Russia-Ukraine conflict while condemning the allegedly conspiratorial approach of the West. Additionally, Russia has firmly supported India’s chairmanship of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
At a time when the global community is alienating Russia for its aggression, India is emerging as a potent ally. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has talked with Russian President Vladimir Putin through phone several times since March last year. PM Modi and President Putin will meet in person during the G20 summit scheduled for September this year, which will be hosted by India.