External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday held talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on pressing global issues including the crisis in Ukraine and the situation in Afghanistan. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the G-20 foreign ministers’ conclave in the Indonesian city of Bali. “Met FM Sergey Lavrov of Russia on the sidelines of the Bali #G20FMM. Discussed bilateral matters of mutual interest. Also exchanged views on contemporary regional and international issues including the Ukraine conflict and Afghanistan,” Jaishankar tweeted.
The Jaishankar-Lavrov talks came a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed in a phone conversation the state of global energy and food markets in the backdrop of the Ukraine crisis.
India has not yet condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and it has been maintaining that the crisis must be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue. In the last few months, India has also increased the import of discounted crude oil from Russia notwithstanding increasing disquiet over it by several Western powers.
India’s crude oil imports from Russia have jumped over 50 times since April and now it makes up for 10 per cent of all crude bought from overseas.On Tuesday, Russian Ambassador Denis Alipov said Russia appreciates India for not supporting attempts to isolate it in multilateral forums and that bilateral trade between the two countries is on an upswing.
India has also been in touch with several leading powers including Russia on the situation in Afghanistan. Last month, India re-established its diplomatic presence in Kabul by deploying a “technical team” in its embassy in the Afghan capital.India had withdrawn its officials from the embassy after the Taliban seized power last August following concerns over their security.
The reopening of the embassy came weeks after an Indian team led by JP Singh, the external affairs ministry’s point person for Afghanistan, visited Kabul and met acting Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi and some other members of the Taliban dispensation. In the meeting, the Taliban side had assured the Indian team that adequate security will be provided if India sends its officials to the embassy in Kabul. India has not recognised the new regime in Afghanistan and has been pitching for the formation of a truly inclusive government in Kabul besides insisting that Afghan soil must not be used for any terrorist activities against any country.