NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov where the leaders discussed bilateral ties, military and nuclear cooperation and the Afghanistan situation ahead of President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India later this year for the New Delhi-Moscow annual summit.
A joint statement issued after the meeting said that connectivity issues, including the International North-South Transport Corridor and the Chennai-Vladivostok Maritime Corridor, were also discussed during the meeting.
Saying that bilateral cooperation between India and Russia have remained energetic and forward-looking, Jaishanakar said: “We assess positively our economic cooperation noting new opportunities in the Russian far east.
"We talked about the long-standing partnership in the nuclear space and defence sectors. We also found an appetite for greater investment in each other by both the countries. Russian support for our Gaganyaan programme has progressed for which deeply appreciate. Our defence requirement in the past year was expeditiously addressed.”
On the contentious issue of the acquisition of S-400 missile systems from Russia, Jaishankar said there was no specific discussion on the issue.
Lavrov, on the other hand, said it was the US that has threatened sanctions, and India and Russia were keen to deepen military cooperation.
“We didn’t discuss statements from the USA. Instead, we confirmed that we are going to deepen our military cooperation. We have a governmental committee on military-technical cooperations that has its own plans,” he said.
The US has threatened India with sanctions under the CAATSA if New Delhi acquires S-400 from Moscow.
The Afghanistan situation also was discussed, the external affairs minister said, adding that the developments in Kabul directly impact India’s security. Jaishankar also said he shared India’s viewpoint on the Indo-Pacific.
The Quad — Australia, India, Japan and the US has been a matter of concern for Russia with Moscow flaying the grouping as an attempt by the US to mark a footprint in the region.