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India and Russia hold back-to-back meetings to expand strategic partnership, investments

  • August 06, 2020

NEW DELHI: India and Russia have held back-to-back meetings to expand their strategic partnership in East Asia and investments in infrastructure and energy sectors amid China’s new aggressiveness.

With Russia emerging as a political factor in defusing tensions with China through its quiet diplomacy, foreign secretary Harsh V Shringla held wide-ranging dialogues with Russia’s deputy foreign minister Igor Morgulov on Tuesday and the country’s ambassador to India Nikolai Kudashev here on Wednesday ahead of SCO-BRICS and bilateral annual summits. Sources told ET that conversations were extremely productive, warm and marked by cordiality.

ET has reliably learnt that the prevailing LAC situation came up for discussion when Shringla and Morgulov held a telephonic conversation. It may be recalled that Russia has emerged as a political factor in the current Sino-Indo stand off and is playing an important but low-key role in defusing the tensions. Moscow had also assured critical defence supplies as per Indian requirements including early supply of S-400 system when defence minister Rajnath Singh visited Moscow.

The foreign secretary and the deputy foreign minister also exchanged views on various regional and international issues of mutual interest, reflecting common ground and approaches, according to an MEA statement issued after the telephone conversation.

The two sides are planning to open a trilateral dialogue involving a key East Asian country as part of their Indo-Pacific partnership, ET has reliably gathered. This, according to international relations experts, would add heft to plurilaterals in the Indo-Pacific region to rebalance China. Delhi and Moscow have decided to widen possibilities of geopolitical and geoeconomic partnerships.

India has also sought Russian investments in India’s burgeoning infrastructure sector and simultaneously plans to increase its investments in Russian oil-gas-coal sectors, ET has further learnt. The 20th edition of the annual summit, which is being planned in the physical presence of PM Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin, wants to build upon outcomes of the Vladivostok Summit, which involves expanding Delhi’s economic heft in Russia’s Far-East where Chinese have made encroachment.

While Russia is weighing India’s proposal to join International Solar Alliance, it is actively considering joining Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI). Developed through consultations with more than 35 countries, CDRI envisions enabling measurable reduction in infrastructure losses from disasters, including extreme climate events. Established as a platform for generating and exchanging knowledge, CDRI will conduct country-specific and global activities. CDRI will provide member countries technical support and capacity development, research and knowledge management, and advocacy and partnerships to facilitate and encourage investment in disaster resilient infrastructure systems.

During their back to back dialogue, the senior officials inter alia covered high-level exchanges between both sides; forthcoming calendar of high-level meetings in the framework of BRICS and SCO; and interactions and meetings at various levels preparatory to the India-Russia Summit later in the year, according to the MEA statement.

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