India and Russia on Thursday reviewed the entire spectrum of their bilateral ties and issues of global interest during talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Capetown. Both the ministers are there to participate in the foreign ministers’ conclave of the BRICS(Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). Jaishankar is also likely to hold bilateral meeting with his Chinese counterpart Qin Gang.
After holding talks with the Russian Foreign Minister on the sidelines of the conclave, Jaishankar said in a tweet “Good to meet FM Sergey Lavrov of Russia in Cape Town this morning on BRICS FMM sidelines. Our discussions covered bilateral matters, BRICS, G20 and SCO.”
India will hold the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and G-20 summits in July and September respectively.
In the last few months, India has become a leading importer of discounted crude oil from Russia notwithstanding increasing disquiet in the West over the procurement in view of Russian invasion of Ukraine. India’s economic engagement with Russia has been on a major upswing in the last one year, largely due to its procurement of discounted Russian oil.
India has, so far, refrained from voting against Russia in the United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) and the United Nations Security Council(UNSC)regarding its military action in Ukraine. New Delhi has all along called for resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy.
On Wednesday, Jaishankar said these are still “early days” for conflict resolution between Ukraine and Russia as presently, the focus is on problems such as a grain corridor, nuclear issues and matters related to the exchange of prisoners of war.
In an interview to DD India, Jaishankar noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) brings together five of the largest developing countries of the world, representing 41 per cent of the global population, 24 per cent of the global GDP and 16 per cent of the global trade. Jaishankar is also expected to hold bilateral meetings with his other BRICS counterparts including Chinese foreign Qin Gang.