Russian Foreign Minister could visit India during War
According to reports, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov may visit Delhi this week for formal discussions as the conflict in Ukraine enters its consequent month. The tour, which is the first by a top Russian official since President Vladimir Putin started a war on the neighbouring country, comes in the lieu of a flurry of travels by Western-backed sanctions system heads, hoping to sway India’s attitude, which has not condemned Moscow for the invasion.
Mr. Lavrov’s tour is surely to focus on strategic concerns arising from the war, with particular conversations on acquiring Russian oil, payment systems, and expected problems in the delivery of military gear, given restrictions against Russian banks and exclusion from the SWIFT. Last week, the Modi administration explained Parliament that it is evaluating reduced Russian oil offers, that a special inter-ministerial panel led by the Finance Ministry is monitoring payment concerns for Indian importers and exporters towards result of the conflict and Western sanctions.
Furthermore, technical conversations between the Russian Central Bank or Bank of Russia and the Reserve Bank of India are expected to take place this week, and a team will fly to India ahead of Mr. Lavrov’s visit in monitoring payment systems in more particular detail. India may want Russia to provide clarity and takes guarantee on the timely delivering of spare parts and supplies for existing systems, with the ongoing acquisitions like the S-400 and Ak-203 assault rifles, further simplifying the rupee-ruble transaction mechanism for any future purchases.
Last week, Denis Alipov, the recently appointed Russian Ambassador, met with three top officials from the Ministry of External Affairs: Secretary (West) Sanjay Verma, Secretary (East) Saurabh Kumar, and Secretary (Economic Relations) Dammu Ravi. Mr Alipov stated in tweets that he had discussions about Russia-India engagement at the United Nations, the G-20, and other multilateral venues. Mr. Lavrov’s tour will be regarded as attempt to reach out to India as the US and its European allies step up influence on Russia to “isolate” it, expand defense supplies to Ukraine and neighbouring countries, and call on other countries to join in.
Mr. Lavrov’s visit comes just days after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Delhi, where he met with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Mr Jaishankar, one of various others, to discuss the Ukraine crisis. Mr Jaishankar said the “common element” in monitoring the crisis was the necessity for an instant peace treaty and a recovery to dialogue and diplomacy. Mr. Lavrov is further expected to fly to Beijing for bilateral negotiations and an Afghanistan summit.
India has continuously refrained from all UN resolutions condemning Russia so far and has advocated for dialogue. While Indian students were being taken back from Ukraine amid war, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Mr Putin and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky over the phone many times between February 24 and March 7, and officials have denoted he may help broker a settlement. Last week, US President Joe Biden stated that he was exploring the idea of excluding Russia from the G-20 grouping, with the following meeting scheduled for November in Bali, Indonesia. Officials added that India, which will host the G20 conference in 2023, would be reluctant to accept such a move if asked.
Mid-week, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Mexican Foreign Minister Ebrard will be in Delhi, as will Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, leading Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s visit next Sunday. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh are due set to go to the United States later in the ongoing month to confer with their colleagues Antony Blinken and Gen. Lloyd Austin, where probable US sanctions on the S400 acquisition may be discussed. The trip will be Russia’s first high-level visit to India since the war began on February 24th. Many topics will be discussed, including trading under the rupee-ruble system, which the Indian finance ministry is monitoring in the wake of Western sanctions on Russia.
As the West and Russia lock horns, the attack war has revised the global geopolitical arithmetic. Both parties have been in contact with New Delhi on the problem, and it has been able to showcase its strategic independence. India has refrained from voting on Ukraine-Russia initiatives at the United Nations, if they were sponsored by the West or, more recently, by Russia, even when it has called for direct negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv amid war. In Parliament, EAM Jaishankar stated that they are deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation and have asked for an immediate suspension of violence and an end to all hostilities.
PM Modi is set to visit Russia later this year for the yearly India-Russia summit. On the 6th of December, Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Delhi for the annual meeting. This year, Russia will host the second 2+2 foreign and defense ministers meeting, for which Indian external affairs and defense ministries will go to the country. The Russian foreign minister’s scheduled visit coincides with a 2+2 foreign and defense ministers meeting between India and the United States in the second week of April.
Meanwhile, foreign policy experts have ruled out the chances of India being dragged into the war’s negotiations of a result of the Russian minister’s visit. While speaking to the Republic in relation to the visit, Strategic Affairs Expert, Sushant Sareen, said that he wasn’t sure, and perhaps, the visit was to bring India to the negotiating table, despite New Delhi’s super relations with both Moscow and Kyiv. He believes it is a ploy to exhibit that a country like India is on their support against countries like the United States, especially during war. According to Sareen, this is comparable to what the Chinese minister did on his recent visit.