External Affairs Minister Jaishankar will visit Russia this week.
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar will visit Moscow this week to prepare the ground for the annual India-Russia summit and discuss the rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan, people familiar with the development said on Monday.
Ways to boost cooperation within the framework of the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Cultural Cooperation, as well as ties in the defense sector, are likely to figure in their talks in Moscow as well.
The foreign minister is scheduled to hold extensive talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
The annual India-Russia summit was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both countries have a mechanism whereby the prime minister of India and the Russian president hold a summit meeting annually to review the full range of ties.
So far, 20 annual summits have been held alternately in India and Russia.
Russia has been a time-tested partner for India and the country has been a key pillar of New Delhi’s foreign policy.
The people quoted above said that a key focus area of the discussions will be the evolution of the situation in Afghanistan in the face of the withdrawal of US forces from the country.
Afghanistan has witnessed a series of attacks in recent weeks as the United States sought to conclude the withdrawal of its forces from the war-torn country before 9/11, ending nearly two decades of its military presence there.
India is concerned about rising levels of violence in Afghanistan, as well as the Taliban’s efforts to expand their influence in the country.
Last month, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that the Taliban’s relentless quest for power through violence has created an uncertain environment in Afghanistan and that the situation in the country is “fluid” at the moment.
There has been renewed momentum in the Afghan peace process, including from Russia, and it has kept in touch with key actors and stakeholders in that country.
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