Overall bilateral cooperation, the Ukraine conflict and regional as well as global issues of mutual interest were discussed in the wide-ranging talks held between external affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov on Thursday (May 4).
It is not clear whether trade-related issues figured in the talks. But Jaishankar tweeted about the meeting: “Comprehensive review of our bilateral, global and multilateral cooperation with FM Sergey Lavrov of Russia. Appreciated Russia’s support for India’s SCO presidency. Also discussed issues pertaining to G20 and BRICS”.
The talks took place at a beach resort in Benaulim on the sidelines of a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
Comprehensive review of our bilateral, global and multilateral cooperation with FM Sergey Lavrov of Russia.
Appreciated Russia’s support for India’s SCO presidency. Also discussed issues pertaining to G20 and BRICS. pic.twitter.com/cgfhATd8D4
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) May 4, 2023
The Russian foreign minister landed in Goa this morning to attend the SCO conclave, a day after Russia accused Ukraine of attacking the Kremlin with drones in an unsuccessful attempt to kill President Vladimir Putin.
Also read: Jaishankar to hold bilateral talks with Chinese, Russian counterparts but dialogue unlikely with Pak FM
Jaishankar and Lavrov reviewed the overall trajectory of bilateral engagement in the backdrop of the global geopolitical upheaval, said people familiar with the matter, according to media reports.
No clarity on trade-related issues
India has been pressing Russia for urgently addressing the trade imbalance that has been in favour of Moscow.
India’s trade deficit with Russia jumped significantly in the last few months after it procured significant volumes of discounted crude oil from that country in the backdrop of the Ukraine crisis.
The SCO – an influential bloc
The SCO is an influential economic and security bloc and has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations. India has not yet condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine for it has been pushing for resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy. The SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
India and Pakistan became its permanent members in 2017.
India was made an observer at the SCO in 2005 and has generally participated in the ministerial-level meetings of the grouping, which focus mainly on security and economic cooperation in the Eurasian region.
India has shown a keen interest in deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS), which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence.
(With agency inputs)