New Delhi: Describing India’s relationship with Russia as “important and steady,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar asserted that the ties with Moscow have proven beneficial for New Delhi. He emphasized the need for India to approach thoughtfully while dealing with other nations.
Replying to the Western media’s criticism over his visit to Russia and the camaraderie between PM Narendra Modi and Russian President Putin, Jaishankar said, “If people can’t read me, that means my mind games are working. But the answer is honestly I see no reason that people should take any, you know what was happening other than at face value because we have always maintained that the Russia relationship is a very important one, very steady one.”
Notably, India has maintained a neutral stance on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, advocating for dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the issues. During a meeting with President Putin in Samarkand in 2021, PM Modi emphasized, “This is not an era of war.”
In an interview with ANI Jaishankar said, “I have written about it in my book and I mean I said it in Moscow. I said it in publicly in Moscow even before my meeting with President Putin happened which is that we value this relationship. It is relationship that has served India well.”
Earlier in December, Jaishankar travelled to Russia for a five-day visit and met Russian President Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Russian Deputy PM Denis Manturov. During his meeting with Putin, he conveyed warm greetings of PM Modi and handed over a personal message. In a post on X, Jaishankar noted that he appreciated Putin’s guidance on further development on ties between India and Russia.
Putin had extended an invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Russia next year. “We will be glad to see our friend, Prime Minister Modi in Russia,” Vladimir Putin said during his meeting with Jaishankar. During PM Modi’s visit, “We will be able to discuss all the relevant, current issues and talk to the prospects of the Russian and Indian relationship,” Putin added.
In a meeting with Putin, EAM Jaishankar underscored the significant progress in India-Russia bilateral trade, surpassing USD 50 billion. He emphasised the potential for further growth and the need to give the trade relationship a more sustainable character.
Referring to Russia as India’s “valued and time-tested” partner, Jaishankar, after meeting Lavrov, stressed the mutual benefits derived from the relationship. He highlighted advancements in trade, investment, military-technical cooperation, and connectivity projects as indicators of the significance India places on its ties with Moscow.
Speaking about India-Russia ties, he said, “I think I must have been reacting to how I was asked that particular question and I know that is not your intent. For us, Russia is a very valued partner. It’s a very time-tested partner. It’s a relationship from which both India and Russia have benefited enormously and my presence here today and the fact you know all the developments that I have pointed out including our growing trade, investments, our military-technical cooperation, our connectivity projects. I think all of this will give you a good sense of the importance and the value that we attach to the relationship.”
The External Affairs minister also spoke about the tradition of annual meetings between leaders of India and Russia. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin did not hold an annual meeting due to India’s G20 Presidency and preoccupations at the end of the year. He expressed confidence that the annual meeting will be held next year. Jaishankar noted that India and Russia have positive feelings for each other.
“The tradition of annual meetings between our leaders is something that we value very greatly and as someone who has seen it over the last decade, I can attest to its enormous value. I think, my colleague has seen it for longer and could confirm what I am saying. I don’t think it is an issue of resumption of the summits. This year, because of our G20 presidency and at the end of the year, we had some preoccupations,” Jaishankar said.
“It so happened that it could not I am very confident that we will see an annual summit next year and again, you know ours is really a relationship which at every level, starting with you know the relationship between the leaders to right down to the popular level, the societal sentiment, I think we have really very positive feelings for each other and I think that is a really big source of strength for the relationship,” he added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)