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EAM Jaishankar Visit To Russia Possible But Not Confirmed Yet: MEA

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New Delhi: During the weekly media briefing on Thursday, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi, highlighted ongoing discussions regarding a potential visit by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to Russia.

Asked whether the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission meeting and Jaishankar’s visit to Moscow are planned, Bagchi said, “Discussions are underway on a visit, a possible visit by the External Affairs Minister to Moscow for this, but I don’t have any confirmed information or anything to announce yet. As soon as we do, we will, of course, share it with you. But at this moment, as I said, we have regular bilateral engagements, including this one, but we will announce such engagements at the appropriate time and whether the External Affairs Minister himself will go or how and what we do.”

Notably, a number of institutionalised mechanisms have been set up for the development of economic cooperation between India and Russia. The primary institution at the government level is the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission for Trade, Economic, Scientific and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC), according to a statement from the Indian Embassy in Moscow statement.

Earlier in September, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said India-Russia ties might not be spectacular but are very “exceptional and steady,” adding that in many ways Moscow’s relationship with the West has “broken down.”

Speaking at Hudson University, Jaishankar compared Russia’s ties with India to those with other countries, adding that they have been very steady.

“If you consider international relations over the last 70 years, the US-Russian relations, the China-Russia relations, the US-China relations–pretty much every big relationship in the last 70 years has seen a great deal of volatility; you had sharp ups and downs,” Jaishankar said, adding, “India-Russia relations are very exceptional. It’s been very steady.

“Noting that India-Russia relations may “not be spectacular,” Jaishankar said they have stabilised at a certain level but have not seen the ups and downs that Moscow’s relationships with China, the US, or Europe have been through. He added, “And that’s in itself a statement.”

“Now, if one looks at Russia today…as a consequence of what is going on in Ukraine…it seems to them clear that in many ways Russia’s relationship with the West has broken down,” he said.

On why Russia’s emphasis on India is increasing, Jaishankar said, “India will and has come into calculations as well. So I would predict a Russia that would consciously focus on the non-Western world away from Europe and away from the United States, look much more at Asia, and possibly look at other regions as well. But Asia is economically the most active. So I guess that’s what you’re going to see.”

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