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Exclusive | We value our relationship with India highly: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to WION

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that Moscow values its relationship with Delhi highly and will continue to develop ties.

In response to a WION question during his press conference, 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 advancing that partnership.”

Russian President Putin visited India last month for the annual India-Russia summit. That month also saw the first ever meeting of India’s and Russia’s defence and foreign ministers, which will be rotated between the two countries.

The Russian foreign minister said President Putin had “very useful negotiations” in Delhi and that both “the President and the Prime Minister (Modi) managed to spend several hours talking and that was a very useful exchange.”

Also read | Russia will take measures to eliminate threats if US ignores security proposals: Minister Lavrov

The main pillars of the two countries’ partnership are defence and space.The BrahMos Missile System, as well as the licenced production in India of SU-30 aircraft and T-90 tanks, are examples of such flagship cooperation in the defence sector.

In space cooperation, Russia trained four Indian cosmonauts who will be part of the Gaganyaan mission, India’s first manned space mission.

In response to the RIC summit, or Russia, India, and China summit, FM Lavrov referred to the RIC grouping as an “important structure”, pointing out that foreign ministers have met “some 20 times since the creation of the RIC.” He highlighted that there are “sectoral meetings between ministers, their deputies, and experts on trade, economic, and humanitarian cooperation.”

Last year, the foreign ministers of RIC countries met virtually. Leaders of the RIC countries have met on the sidelines of the G20 summit. The last leaders’ level meeting at the level of PM Modi, President Xi, and Putin took place on the sidelines of the Osaka G20 summit. But Chinese aggressive action on the line of actual control with India might make the holding of such meetings difficult.

The Russian Foreign minister said, “We see that our Indian and Chinese friends are interested in keeping this format going forward and in developing this format going forward,” pointing out that, “I know India and China have a direct dialogue on many issues, including security issues.” I know there is a 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 and was the first to talk about the meeting happening this year. For Russia, both India and China have been close allies. 

As Lavrov said, “apart from the political significance of this RIC format, the 3 countries are part of a 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.

Source: Thanks