New Delhi: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday arrived in New Delhi and is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar on 1 April, said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
It is the first high-level visit from Russia after the nation went to war with Ukraine.
Lavrov would meet Jaishankar on Friday evening and by 5.50 p.m. he would be flying for Moscow, as reported by news agency IANS.
As the US-drove sanctions and a couple of Russian banks are being taken out from the SWIFT messaging system, Lavrov will ponder upon the rupee-ruble-denominated payment method for raw petroleum which Russia has proposed to India. New Delhi isn’t averse to purchasing Russian oil at a discounted rate.
It is likewise expressed that the Reserve Bank of India’s senior officials are meeting their Russian partners to talk about the rupee-ruble payment.
Why is Russian foreign minister’s visit significant?
The visit is seen as a crucial engagement with India since it is held amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
India abstained from UN General Assembly resolutions that strongly deplored Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. India continues to buy Russian oil and other goods despite pressure from Washington. US President Joe Biden last week described India as “somewhat shaky” on Russia.
Lavrov’s visit to India comes at a time when US deputy national security adviser Daleep Singh and British foreign secretary Liz Truss are also visiting the country. German foreign and security policy advisor Jens Plotner is visiting India on Wednesday.
The focus of Lavrov’s visit is likely to remain on the purchase of discounted Russian crude oil and putting in place a “rupee-ruble payment system for bilateral trade”, on the back of sanctions imposed by the West against Moscow, PTI reported.
Russian central bank officials are likely to visit India next week to discuss the details of the payment system, according to Bloomberg report. India is also likely to stress the issue of “timely delivery of various military hardware” and “components of the S-400 missile systems by Russia”.
At present, Lavrov is holding multinational meetings in Tunxi, China, according to the ANI report. Russian foreign minister is also holding multinational talks on Afghanistan along with representatives from Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The Russian foreign minister on Wednesday held meetings with representatives from China and Pakistan.
“Those who tried to make Afghanistan centre of the world politics, now try to make Ukraine to replace Afghanistan. And we all understand what it is about,” said Lavrov during talks with his Pakistan counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
The leader is also going to attend a separate meeting of the “Extended Troika” with special Afghan envoys from China and the US.