India-Russia ties are based strategic convergence and geopolitical interests, says EAM Jaishankar
The relationship between India and Russia has been very steady and very strong, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday after meeting his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow. He also expressed happiness at the "continued cooperation" in different spheres, including bilateral economic engagement.
Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, EAM Jaishankar said, "What clearly came out was that India-Russia relations remain very steady, remain very strong, they are based on our strategic convergence, on our geopolitical interests, and because they are mutually beneficial".

Stating that India-Russia trade was at an all-time high, EAM Jaishankar said this crossed USD 50 billion in turnover last year. "We expect to exceed that this year. And what is important is that this trade is more balanced. It is sustainable, and it provides for fair market access," he pointed out.
During their meeting, the two ministers also discussed the global strategic situation, including Ukraine, Gaza, the Indo-Pacific, ASEAN, Afghanistan, and UN-related matters.
Here is what EAM Jaishankar said on different aspects of the India-Russia relationship:

Trade & Investments: We discussed long-term arrangements. We are today, in our trade, energy, fertilizers, coking coal are very big components of that. How do we reach long-term arrangements in that regard was a big part of our discussion. We discussed mutual investments, the need to progress on a bilateral investment treaty. We spoke about railways yesterday, about industrial zone infrastructure. And we have agreed that the negotiations between India and the Eurasian Economic Union for a free trade agreement will be resumed in the second half of January this year.
Energy: We have today a very substantial relationship, both in terms of Indian investments in Russia, in oil and gas, which we are seeking to expand. As also in nuclear; yesterday we signed two important amendments, which will take the Kudankulam nuclear power project forward.

Connectivity: We also spoke about connectivity; connectivity from western India through the International North-South Transport Corridor. Also connectivity from eastern India, from Chennai to Vladivostok and the polar route. We discussed various related areas where India's polar capabilities could be enhanced in collaboration with Russia.
Civil aviation and tourism: We would like to see more Russian tourists in India. We have increased the number of flights from India every week, from 52 to 64. We are open to increasing it further.

Political issues: We spent a lot of time discussing political cooperation with regard to various international issues, including international organisations, BRICS, of which Russia will be the President; SCO, etc.
Earlier, in his opening remarks during the meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov, EAM Jaishankar said, "I think we have lived up to the responsibilities of a special and privileged strategic partnership."
He also referred to "different expressions of our cooperation this year," including India's presence at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, at the Far Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. "And on the bilateral economic cooperation, the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission, which I co-chaired with Deputy PM Manturov; we have been meeting, I met him yesterday," EAM Jaishankar added.

"We are very glad to see continued progress. We expect a strong Russian participation at the Vibrant Gujarat meeting in January, including a lot of Governors from the far East," the Indian External Affairs Minister said.