Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Wednesday met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov in Moscow and held political consultations on a wide range of issues pertaining to the bilateral ties, including the schedule of the upcoming political contacts.
During the meeting, the sides underlined their aspiration to increase the trade and economic turnover by expanding cooperation in traditional and high-tech spheres. They also noted the similarity of approaches by Russia and India to the pressing global and regional issues, as well as stressed the intention of the two countries to continue coordination of efforts at international and regional platforms, including the UN, G20, BRICS, SCO, RIC and EAEU.
Foreign Secretary also met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and discussed wide-ranging Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between the two countries and ways to further strengthen it.
Indian Embassy in Moscow said in a tweet that the Foreign Secretary conveyed greetings of External Affairs S Jaishankar to the Russian leader. "They discussed the wide-ranging Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia and ways to further strengthen it," the Embassy said.
Shringla later said the Russian Foreign Minister emphasised the importance he attaches to the special privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia. "We also spoke about the annual summit and he (Lavrov) said President Putin was looking forward to his visit to India at the invitation of Prime Minister Modi and that the visit would take place sometime on a date to be decided," the Foreign Secretary said.
"There are a number of other visits that we spoke about -- there is a visit of the Deputy Prime Minister for the Inter-Governmental Commission with our Minister for External Affairs. We are looking at the visits of our army and naval chiefs. There are a large number of exchanges that are on the cards for the India-Russia relationship," he said.
Shringla 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. "We also spoke about issues like Afghanistan which both countries have a direct interest in," he said.
The Foreign Secretary said they also discussed cooperation in the area of vaccines, global responses to COVID-19 and on how India and Russia can work together in partnership to deal with this issue. "There is a lot happening in the relationship. It is a very important relationship for both countries. I think we will see some developments reinforce the close and strategic partnership we both enjoy," he said.
Shringla extended Lavrov's invitation on behalf of Jaishankar to visit India and the Russian Minister said he is looking forward to doing so at the earliest.
Shringla paid an official visit to Moscow on February 17-18, 2021 at the invitation of the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.