New Delhi: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be on a two-day official visit to India from Thursday. This is his first trip to India since Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine last month. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued a one-line statement to announce the visit. “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 said.
The focus of Lavrov’s visit to New Delhi is expected to be on India’s purchase of discounted Russian crude oil. There will be discussions of putting in place a rupee-ruble payment system for bilateral trade in view of the Western sanctions against Moscow, people familiar with the development said.
In the talks, India is also likely to press for ensuring timely delivery of various military hardware as well as components of the S-400 missile systems by Russia.
Lavrov began a two-day visit of China Wednesday primarily to attend a meeting of foreign ministers of countries bordering Afghanistan that has been convened by Beijing to discuss the Afghan crisis. He is expected to arrive in New Delhi on Thursday evening after concluding his visit to China.
The Russian foreign minister’s visit to India 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.
Truss will visit India March 31 while Singh is visiting India from March 30-31. Plotner arrived Wednesday in India.
The British foreign secretary is set to hold talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.