As India's stand on Russia's ongoing war with Ukraine continues to be scrutinised by the world, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on Friday, 1 April, in a first high-level visit since the conflict began.
Speaking about India's purchase of Russian crude oil, Lavrov said, "If India wants to buy anything from Russia, we are ready to discuss it."
He added that Indian foreign policies were "characterised by independence and the concentration on real national legitimate interests."
Stating that the same policy is applied in the Russian Federation, Lavrov said that this made India and Russia, "as big countries, good friends and loyal partners."
While Jaishankar, during the meeting, stressed India's stand on solving the Ukraine crisis diplomatically, Lavrov appreciated New Delhi for not taking a "one-sided" stance on the war.
"Our meeting today takes place in a difficult international environment, apart from the pandemic. India, as you know, has always been in favour of resolving disputes and differences through dialogue and diplomacy," Jaishankar said after the meeting in New Delhi.
Stressing upon a strategic partnership with India, Lavrov said: "These days, our western colleagues would like to reduce any meaningful international issue to the crisis in Ukraine. You know our position, we do not hide anything and we appreciate that India is taking this situation in the entirety of facts and not just in a one-sided way."
Ahead of the talks, Jaishankar had tweeted to say that he was "looking forward to the conversation."
The Russian foreign minister was received at the airport by an Indian delegation on Thursday.
'Not a War; It Is a Special Operation': Lavrov
Lavrov added that talks were characterised by the relations that the two countries had developed over many decades.
"Relations are strategic partnerships...This was the basis on which we've been promoting our cooperation in all areas," he said.
However, disagreeing with India on one aspect, Lavrov said, "You called it a war which is not true. It is a special operation, military infrastructure is being targeted. The aim is to deprive the Kyiv regime of building the capacity to present any threat to Russia."
India's Stand on US Radar
The visit comes even as the United States on Wednesday, 29 March, criticised India for attempting to undermine western sanctions by considering a trade proposal from Moscow. As per a Bloomberg report citing sources, Russia is offering huge discounts to India on its oil amid mounting sanctions from the West.
Lavrov's two-day-long visit coincides with British foreign secretary Liz Truss's visit and US Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Daleep Singh's trip to India.
The Russian foreign minister is among the people sanctioned by the United States government.