‘Global south feels pain,’ says Jaishankar as Ukraine conflict dominates Indo-Russia talks ahead of G20 | The Financial Express

‘Global south feels pain,’ says Jaishankar as Ukraine conflict dominates Indo-Russia talks ahead of G20

Both sides during talks reviewed the progress made in space and nuclear programmes as well as noted that the defence relationship continues to grow.

‘Global south feels pain,’ says Jaishankar as Ukraine conflict dominates Indo-Russia talks ahead of G20
There have been reports in the Western media speculating that the visit by Dr Jaishankar is perhaps an indication that India will mediate between Russia and Ukraine.

Amidst the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war External affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Russian Foreign minister counterpart Sergey Lavrov held talks in Moscow covering a wide range of bilateral, regional as well as global issues of mutual interests.

Talks with his Russian counterpart

In his talks with the Russian foreign minister, the minister pointed out ‘global south feels the pain’ the two talked about food prices and energy.

According to Jaishankar, India is the third-largest consumer of oil and gas, adding “and where incomes are not very high, we need to look for affordable sources, so the India-Russia relationship works to our advantage. We will keep it going.”

Also Read: Russia becomes India’s top crude oil supplier in October

Both sides during talks reviewed the progress made in space and nuclear programmes as well as noted that the defence relationship continues to grow.

Significance of the visit

This is the minister’s first visit since the Russia-Ukraine war which started earlier this year in February. The two-day visit comes just over a week before the G20 summit in Bali where the focus is expected to be on the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, its fallout on food and energy security as well as global economy.

There have been reports in the Western media speculating that the visit by Dr Jaishankar is perhaps an indication that India will mediate between Russia and Ukraine.

Agenda in Moscow

Dr Jaishankar also met with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, who also holds the Trade and Industry portfolio. The two discussed further improving the bilateral economic cooperation, even as reports indicate that the trade between the two countries has almost tripled and that India’s imports of crude from there have grown significantly.

Also Read: India abstains on Russia-sponsored draft resolution at UNSC for probe on Ukraine’s alleged bio weapons 

In a statement issued ahead of the by the Russian Foreign Ministry the two sides during talks will focus on not only trade and investments but also on the use of national currencies in mutual settlements, projects in the energy sector, transport and logistics, also to cooperate in the Arctic Shelf and the Russian Far East.

Financial Express Online has reported earlier that in the last few months both Indian and Russian banks have been in discussion about creating a rupee-rouble mechanism. Once a mechanism is in place it will allow the two to circumnavigate the US led sanctions on Russia over the war.

IRIGC-TEC

Dr Jaishankar is in Moscow for the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC) with the Russian Deputy PM Manturov. The talks also come ahead of the India-Russia annual summit which usually takes place in December. This time the summit venue will be in Moscow. The two sides during discussions compared notes on the upcoming contacts.

There is a possibility that Prime Minister Narendra Modi might meet the Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali on November 15-16. There is no clarity/or confirmation from the Russian side about the possible visit of the Russian leader to go for the summit in Bali.

In his opening remarks Jaishankar stated that the two countries are on track to achieve a target of US$ 30 billion in terms of annual trade turnover. And for long term economic stability between the two sides, he said that there needs to be a balance if it is to be sustainable. He also expressed confidence that the two sides will realize their potential in trade and economic relations and will be able to address the market access issues as well as trade deficit.

For a substantive discussion on various issues the minister is accompanied by a delegation of senior representatives of seven different ministries – Petroleum and Natural Gas, Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Finance, Chemicals and Fertilizers, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, and Commerce and Industry.

During his talks with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the two talked about diversifying cooperation and promotion of inter-regional cooperation especially in the Russian Far East. 

Enhancing connectivity is another important issue between the two countries which was discussed today and this included the Chennai-Vladivostok Eastern Maritime Corridor and the International North-South Transport Corridor.

On the Ukraine conflict

India has been maintaining that the crisis should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy. It has not yet officially condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In fact, it has already been reported that Prime Minister Modi has spoken to both Russian President Putin and with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a number of times.

Just last month, in a phone conversation with the Ukrainian leader, PM Modi said there can be “no military solution” and that India is ready to contribute to any peace efforts. Jaishankar in his statement once again stated India’s position on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war: “India, therefore, strongly advocates a return to dialogue and diplomacy. We are clearly on the side of peace, respect for international law and support for the UN Charter.”

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First published on: 08-11-2022 at 20:18 IST