The visiting Russian Foreign Minister appreciated India's stand on Ukraine

India has always been in favour of resolving differences and disputes through dialogue and diplomacy, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday.

In his opening remarks at the India-Russia Foreign Minister’s meeting, he said, “Our meeting today takes place in a difficult international environment quite apart from the pandemic. India, as you are aware, has always been in favour of resolving differences and disputes through dialogue and diplomacy”.

The Russian Foreign Minister, who is on an official visit to New Delhi, appreciated India's stand on the Ukraine issue.

“You know our position, we do not hide anything and we appreciate that India is taking this situation in the entirety of effects and not in a one sided way,” Lavrov said, even as he remarked that "these days our Western colleagues will like to reduce any meaningful issue to the crisis in Ukraine”.

EAM Jaishankar said their meeting would provide an "opportunity to discuss contemporary issues and concerns in some detail".

Welcoming Foreign Minister Lavrov, EAM Jaishankar said they had been meeting each other, both on bilateral visits and on sidelines of multilateral platforms.

“This year also we have had an opportunity to speak twice and I think keeping in regular touch is something that is in our mutual interest,” the External Affairs Minister added.

“This year is an important year in our bilateral relations as we mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations,” he stated.

Jaishankar noted that despite the Covid related difficulties, last year turned out to be one of intense bilateral activity that included holding the inaugural 2+2 meeting and the 21st Annual Summit.

He informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin have been in regular touch and have spoken to each other on multiple occasions this year.

“Our bilateral relations has continued to grow in many areas and we have diversified our cooperation by expanding our agenda,” EAM Jaishankar told Lavrov.

Meanwhile, in his media remarks, Foreign Minister Lavrov said, “Our relations were sustainable during many difficult times in the past and I have no slightest doubt that mutual self-respect and the search for balance of interest would prevail in our relations for the future as well.”

“We have been developing Special Privileged Strategic Partnership and this is one of the key priorities of the Russian Foreign Policy,” Lavrov noted.

“Equality and mutual trust which underlies our excellent international relations in the context of the multipolar world which is being objectively shaped as you alluded to yesterday in a conference in New Delhi,” the Russian Foreign Minister said.

“We certainly are interested in having the world order balanced, which makes it sustainable,” he added.

Noting that India and Russia have intensified their bilateral cooperation and President Putin and Prime Minister Modi are in regular touch with each other, the Russian Minister said that President Putin has sent his best regards to PM Modi.

“Sometime ago, we held the official Summit in December last year and it was a very useful summit as well as the 2+2 Meeting which preceded the meeting of the leaders,” he added.

“We continue to implement projects in the area of energy, science and technology, outer space, pharmaceutical industry and of course we cooperate in the efforts to fight COVID-19 infections,” Russian FM said.