The External Affairs Minister said this at the inaugural two plus two talks between India and Russia

While maintaining that New Delhi and Moscow ties have been close and time-tested, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in his opening remarks at the inaugural India-Russia two plus two dialogue on Monday said the two countries are meeting when the global geopolitical environment is in great flux.

“We are meeting at a critical juncture in the global geopolitical environment which is in great flux, especially in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Jaishankar said.

The External Affairs Minister said as close friends and strategic partners, India and Russia have been working together to safeguard their common interests and to ensure peace, progress and prosperity for their peoples.

“In a world that has changed so much, they have been exceptionally steady. We have had an active dialogue at political levels and also a strong defence partnership over many years. Our meeting gives us a suitable platform to discuss politico-military issues of mutual interest that are inter-related and cross-cutting,”Jaishankar said.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic has raised questions about the current model of global affairs.

“But the long-standing challenges remain even as new ones emerge. Prominent among them are terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization. The situation in Afghanistan has wider repercussions, including for Central Asia. West Asia or the Middle East continues to present hotspots. Maritime security and safety is another domain of shared concern. We both have a common interest in ASEAN centrality and ASEAN-driven platforms,” the EAM said.

At the inaugural India-Russia two plus two dialogue, while India was represented by EAM S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Russia was led by the country’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.