Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu will visit India to hold the inaugural ‘2+2’ ministerial dialogue between the two countries on December 6, the Russian embassy has said.
IMAGE: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar meets Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow, in Sep 2020. Photograph: Kind courtesy @DrSJaishankar/Twitter
Lavrov and Shoigu will hold the talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is also likely to visit India around December 6 to hold summit talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“On December 6, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov together with Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu will hold talks in New Delhi with their Indian counterparts S Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh,” a spokesperson of the embassy said.
He said it is expected that the ministers will have in-depth discussions of the key regional and international issues including the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and developments in Afghanistan and Syria.
Russia refers to the Indo-Pacific as Asia-Pacific.
The spokesperson said the two sides are also expected to exchange views on interaction within the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral.
“In future, consultations in this format are intended to be organised on a regular basis, alternately in Russia and India,” the spokesperson said.
India has the ‘2+2’ ministerial format of dialogue with very few countries including the US, Japan and Australia.
The Modi-Putin summit is expected to produce specific outcomes in further expanding ties in areas of defence, trade and energy.
It is learnt that the two sides are going to firm up a number of agreements in the areas of defence, trade and investment, and science and technology at the summit.
A framework for military-technical cooperation is set to be renewed for the next decade at the summit besides announcing a joint commission on technology and science.
India and Russia have also reached the final phase of negotiation for a logistics support agreement and it is likely to be signed either during the two-plus-two talks or at the summit.
The pact will allow militaries of the two countries to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies, besides facilitating scaling up of overall defence cooperation.
The summit was postponed last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both the countries have a mechanism under which India’s prime minister and the Russian president hold a summit meeting annually to review the entire gamut of ties.
So far 20 Annual Summit meetings have taken place alternatively in India and Russia.
Russia has been a time-tested partner for India and the country has been a key pillar of New Delhi’s foreign policy.