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Regional Conflicts to Trade Talks: Agenda for S Jaishankar's 5-Day Russia Visit

This is the second year in a row that PM Narendra Modi has skipped the annual summit with President Vladimir Putin.

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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar began his five-day-visit to Russia on Tuesday, 26 December, by meeting with representatives of the country's strategic community, and discussed matters such as regional conflicts, connectivity, and multilateralism.

During his stay in Moscow, the EAM will hold talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov and discuss various bilateral and global matters.

According to the MEA's readout:

"EAM will meet Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade of Russia H.E. Denis Manturov to discuss matters related to economic engagement. EAM will meet his counterpart, the Foreign Minister of Russia H.E. Sergey Lavrov for discussion on bilateral, multilateral and international issues."

In a post on X, Jaishankar said, "Spoke about the importance of rebalancing and the emergence of multipolarity."

"Geopolitics and strategic convergence will always keep India-Russia ties on a positive trajectory," he added.

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PM Modi Skips Annual Summit With Putin

This is the second year in a row that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has skipped the annual summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The last summit was held back on 6 December 2021 during Putin's visit to India, with the meeting not taking place in 2022. Moreover, Putin also skipped the G20 Leaders' Summit in New Delhi in September 2023 and also the SCO Summit held virtually.

Shortly after landing, Jaishankar shared a nostalgic memory of a childhood visit to Russia, posting an entry pass from the 1962 commemoration at the Red Square for the first Russian cosmonauts in space.

Alongside the invite, which the EAM would have roughly received at the age of 7, was a current picture of him at Red Square titled “How it started”, and “How it is going”.

The continuing problems over the rupee-rouble payment mechanism amid a surge in the import of Russian oil and bilateral trade and delays in supplies of defence equipment.

Amid an increased import of Russian oil and almost a four-fold economic growth between the two countries, talks are expected to focus on the rupee-rouble payment mechanisms, delays in defence equipment supply, and the India-Eurasia Economic Union (EEU) free trade agreement.

During April 2020 to March 2021, India and Russia witnessed bilateral trade totaling $8.1 billion, notes the Indian Embassy in Russia. Indian exports reached $2.6 billion, while imports from Russia stood at $5.48 billion.

Russian data, however, reports a trade volume of $9.31 billion, with Indian exports at $3.48 billion and imports at $5.83 billion, as per India's embassy in Russia, news agency ANI reported.

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What's the Agenda?

The MEA said that Jaishankar will hold discussions on bilateral, multilateral and international issues and also discuss cultural and people-to-people ties.

On Monday, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Maria Zakharova said. “The full-format negotiations between the heads of Russian and Indian Foreign Affairs Ministries are scheduled on December 27."

India and Russia share a robust defense collaboration, progressing from a buyer-seller relationship to joint research and development. India heavily relies on Russia for about 60 to 70 percent of its defense supplies but aims to diversify sources.

Amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, India secured discounted Russian oil, in an attempt to nurse domestic inflationary pressures.

Moreover, While not explicitly denouncing the invasion, India condemned the Bucha massacre and expressed concern over Russian nuclear remarks and despite Western pressure, India advocated for diplomatic resolutions.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  S Jaishankar   Vladamir Putin   Russia 

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