India, Russia discuss defense, geopolitics during Lavrov’s two-day visit

During Russian FM Sergey's two-day visit to India, a range of issues including defense, trade, and regional connectivity were discussed. This move could rile US as it disapproves of countries engaging in defense talks with Moscow.

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India and Russia on Tuesday discussed a range of issues including defense, trade, and regional connectivity.

India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar addressed a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, who was on a two-day visit to India, in the capital New Delhi.

“We talked about the longstanding partnership in nuclear and defense sectors,” Jaishankar said. “We also found an appetite for greater investment in each other’s countries.”

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He said ties with Russia are time-tested and the two sides also discussed a summit meeting between Premier Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin later this year.

Asked about India planning to obtain additional S-400 missile systems from Russia, he said no such discussions took place.

Lavrov said Russia and India are discussing “additional” production of Russian military equipment in India. “We have an intergovernmental commission on military-technical cooperation, and it has its own plans, including the prospects for additional production of Russian military equipment in India within the framework of the ‘Make in India’ concept.”

The move could rile the US, which has been targeting Russia’s defense sectors with sanctions.

Lavrov said Russia and India have “close positions” on the problem in Afghanistan, where violence has not abated despite peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban.

On the possibility of creating Russian-Chinese military alliance, he said: “Russian-Chinese relations have reached the best level in history, but these relations do not pursue the goal of creating a military alliance.”

He expressed his concern over speculations about creating a “Middle East and Asian NATO,” saying such military blocks would be “counterproductive.”

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The top Russian diplomat said Russia and India will work together in the fight against coronavirus pandemic, including vaccine manufacturing. “I do not rule out that further cooperation in this area will also cover the production of [Indian] vaccines on Russian territory,” he said.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk