Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be on a two-day official visit to India from 31 March to 1 April, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced on Wednesday, 30 March.
“Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Mr Sergey Lavrov will pay an official visit to New Delhi on 31 March -1 April 2022,” the MEA issued a one-line statement, announcing his visit.
This will be Lavrov's first visit to India since Russia invaded Ukraine last month. He is expected to arrive in New Delhi on Thursday evening, 31 March.
The focus of Lavrov's visit is likely to be on India purchasing discounted Russian crude oil and putting in place a "rupee-ruble payment system for bilateral trade", given sanctions put by the West against Moscow, PTI reported.
India is also likely to press on the issue of "timely delivery of various military hardware" and "components of the S-400 missile systems by Russia".
Visit Coincides With That of US Deputy National Security Adviser
Lavrov is currently on a two-day visit to China, where he will attend a meeting convened by Beijing to discuss the Afghan crisis. Foreign ministers of all countries bordering Afghanistan will be attending the said meeting.
The Russian foreign minister's visit coincides with that of US Deputy National Security Adviser Daleep Singh, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, and German Foreign and Security Policy Advisor Jens Plotner.
Singh is visiting India for two days (30-31 March) to discuss the "consequences" of Russia's "unjustified war" in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Truss will visit India on Thursday and is likely to hold talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Rameswar Teli told the Rajya Sabha on Monday, 28 March, that public sector oil companies did not have any contract from Russia under consideration.
"At present, oil public sector undertakings neither have any contract nor is any such proposal under consideration from Russia or any other country for purchase of crude oil in Indian rupees," Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Rameswar Teli told the Rajya Sabha.
India has also not criticised Russia's invasion of Ukraine so far and has also abstained from voting at the UN platforms, condemning the Russian invasion.
Last week, India had abstained on a resolution pushed by Russia on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
India has been calling for the resolution of the crisis through diplomacy and dialogue.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has held phone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin thrice and has also spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy twice.
(With inputs from PTI.)