"Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov arrives in India today"
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will begin his two-day visit to India on Monday to discuss bilateral cooperation. The visit will also set a tone for the India-Russia summit as the two countries will prepare the ground for the annual meet.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova in Moscow on Thursday announced the scheduled visit. Lavrov will visit New Delhi on April 5 and 6 to hold talks with Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, Zakharova said.
The India and Russia annual summit was postponed last year for the first time in the last two decades owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision had led to speculations with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi seeking to claim that the summit was deferred amid “Moscow’s unease with Quad”.
Gandhi had said that Russia is an "important friend" of India and that damaging the country’s traditional relationships is "short-sighted and dangerous" for its future.
India and Russia have been holding the bilateral summit annually alternatively in the two countries since 2000 when the ‘Declaration on the India-Russia Strategic Partnership’ was signed between both sides. The two countries have, so far, held 20 annual summit meetings alternately in India and Russia.
Russia recently criticised the Quadrilateral coalition or Quad comprising India, the United States, Japan, and Australia, saying it would be detrimental to inclusive dialogue for ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
“We are facing some attempts by some countries to create containment and alienation in the Indo-Pacific region which could threaten and jeopardise basic principles for regional cooperation, for example, ASEAN centrality and ASEAN unity.The quad would be detrimental to the inclusive dialogue in the region,” Deputy Chief of the Russian mission Roman Babushkin had said, PTI reported.
The Russian foreign ministry in a tweet also informed that Lavrov will visit Pakistan on April 6 to 7 during which he will hold talks with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
“The Ministers will discuss bilateral ties, including economic cooperation and counterterrorism #RussiaPakistan,” it said.