‘Ready to discuss if India wants to buy anything from us’: Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov

“If India wants to buy anything from Russia, we are ready to discuss it,” Lavrov said.

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Lavrov met with Jaishankar on Friday, a day after the United States warned of consequences over attempts to “circumvent” American sanctions against Moscow.

The Russian foreign minister arrived in New Delhi on Thursday evening after concluding a two-day visit to China.

After the meeting, Lavrov in a press conference highlighted that the “Indian foreign policies are characterised by independence and the concentration on real national legitimate interests.”

“The same policy based in the Russian Federation and this makes us, as big countries, good friends and loyal partners,” the Russian minister added.

Lavrov also highlighed that Russia is committed to continue cooperation in the defence sector with India. He also said, “Talks are characterised by relations which we developed with India for many decades. Relations are strategic partnerships…This was basis on which we’ve been promoting our cooperation in all areas.”

He also highlighted the possibility of India becoming a mediator between Russia and Ukraine and resolve the issue.

He said, “India is an important country. If it sees to play that role which provides resolution of problem…If it is with its position of just and rational approach to international problems, it can support such process.”

Lavrov said that efforts are underway to move away from dollar to national currency and will intensify in coming days.

On being asked whether rouble-rupee system for bilateral trade is being worked out, the foreign minister said that the countries ‘have to find ways to bypass impediments.’

“More and more transactions will be done using national currencies and bypassing dollar-based system,” he added.

Meanwhile, in the opening remarks at the talks, Jaishankar, referring to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, said India is in favour of resolving differences and disputes through dialogue and diplomacy.

“We have diversified our cooperation by expanding our agenda. Our meeting today takes place in a difficult international environment apart from the pandemic,” Jaishankar said. “India, as you are aware, has always been in favour of resolving differences and disputes through dialogue and diplomacy. In our meeting today, we will have an opportunity to discuss contemporary issues and concerns in some detail,” he said.

The Russian foreign minister is scheduled to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi after his talks with Jaishankar.

People familiar with Lavrov’s visit said earlier that the Indian side is likely to press for timely delivery of various military hardware as well as components of the S-400 missile systems by Russia. Unlike many other leading powers, India has not yet criticised Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and it abstained from the votes at the UN platforms in condemning the Russian aggression.

However, last Thursday, India abstained on a resolution pushed by Russia on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, which was seen as reflective of its neutral position on the conflict.

Prime Minister Modi has held phone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24, March 2 and March 7. Modi had spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy twice. Last week, Jaishankar said in Parliament that India’s position on the Ukraine conflict has been “steadfast and consistent” and that it has been seeking immediate cessation of violence.

(With inputs from agencies)

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