NEW DELHI: India and Russia on Thursday deliberated on the fast evolving global situation arising out of the coronavirus crisis and decided to help each other in facilitating any requirement of medicines and medical equipment to deal with the pandemic.
The decision was taken during a telephonic conversation between Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov, government sources said.
The two sides also shared their respective domestic response strategies to deal with the pandemic which has claimed lives of over 88,000 people and infected around 15 lakh in close to 190 countries.
Russia has reported over 10,000 cases of the infection and 76 deaths while the number positive cases of the virus in India is over 5,730 with 166 deaths.
Morgulov thanked Shringla for facilitating the evacuation of Russia nationals stranded in India.
Shringla is understood to have enquired about well-being of around 15,000 Indian students studying in Russia.
"The two sides exchanged notes on the evolving situation relating to spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the respective national efforts by both the countries to combat and contain it," said a source.
It is not clear whether Russia is among growing number of countries seeking supply of hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus infected people.
India is supplying hydroxychloroquine to the US and several other countries hit hard by the pandemic.
The drug has been cited by many as a viable therapeutic solution to fight coronavirus infection.
The sources said both sides decided to remain in close touch with regard to the COVID-19 situation as well as on key bilateral and multilateral matters.
On preparations for annual summits of key groupings, the BRICS and the SCO, Morgulov conveyed to Shringla that various preparatory meetings are being organised through video conferencing.
At present, Russia is holding chair of both the groupings.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is considered a powerful grouping, representing around 42 per cent of the world's population and 20 per cent of the global GDP.
The members of the SCO are Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.
The BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) is also an influential bloc which represents over 3.6 billion people, or half of the world population and have a combined GDP of USD 16.6 trillion.