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India Has Been Open About Economic Ties With Russia, MEA Says Amid Criticism

Bagchi also said that "political colouring" should not be attributed to the ties between the two countries.

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India
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The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday, 7 April, that India had always been open about its relationship with Russia. This comes amid criticism against New Delhi for continuing to maintain economic ties with Moscow amid the crisis in Ukraine.

"We have established economic relations with Russia," said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, adding that India's goal was to stabilise the relationship amid the current circumstances through certain "payment mechanisms".

Bagchi also said that "political colouring" should not be attributed to the ties between the two countries.
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'Extended Assistance Worth $2.5 Billion to Sri Lanka Amid Economic Crisis'

Bagchi also said that Sri Lanka was a "close friend" of India, and that New Delhi had provided economic assistance worth $2.5 billion to Colombo amid the current crisis in the country.

"There have been evolving economic situations as well as other developments. We have extended assistance of about $2.5 billion during the past two-three months, including credit facilities for fuel and food, which are most required," Bagchi said.

He added that since mid-March, India had delivered over 270,000 metric tons of diesel and petrol, in addition to 40,000 tons of rice to Sri Lanka.

Emphasising that India and Sri Lanka relations were rooted in "shared civilisational values and aspirations," Bagchi said that the cooperation between the two South Asian countries had been further strengthened in recent months.

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India-US 2+2 Dialogue on 11 April

Meanwhile, Bagchi said that the India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue will take place in Washington DC on 11 April. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will be leading the Indian delegation.

"The dialogue would enable both sides to undertake a comprehensive review of cross-cutting issues in the India-US bilateral agenda related to foreign policy, defence and security... for further consolidating the relationship," Bagchi asserted.

He added that Jaishankar would be meeting his counterpart, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, separately to advance the strategic partnership between the two countries.

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