Saturday, December 2, 2023

Ex-Indian envoys to Russia, Ukraine calls Jaishankar’s Moscow visit ‘significant’

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Before External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s visit to Moscow later today, Indian envoys to Ukraine and Russia dubbed the visit “important,” emphasising that it will get world attention as India prepares to take over the G20 presidency.

“It’s a very important visit – maintaining high contacts at the foreign minister level and review of economic cooperation at the deputy prime minister level, Dr Jaishakar’s visit to Moscow will also catch global attention as India prepares to take over the chair of G20; as leader of the global south, India will voice widespread aspirations for an early end to Ukraine conflict and return to diplomacy and negotiations – a point that has been repeatedly stressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his interactions with global leaders”, said Venkatesh Varma, former Indian Ambassador to Russia.

While stressing on strategic partnership between India and Russia, the other envoy believes that to take the relationship forward, interaction on a regular basis is important.

“Our relationship with Russia is on a much higher level, on a strategic level, when you have increased the status to that level, you have to have interaction on a regular basis. Things develop so fast on the international circuit that you have to take into account what has happened. And what is its impact? How is our relationship going to be impacted by that? So, it’s a regular interaction session, which has to continue from both sides. And we do it alternately once the host, we host the foreign government representative, and the next time we go there to be for the same purpose. So, this is, therefore, a regular consultation mechanism that we have set into motion. These are what is called the Joint Commission between the two governments set up with the specific purpose of identifying different areas. We want to take the relationship forward so therefore External Affairs minister visit is in the context of our regular consultation”, said VB Soni, former Indian Ambassador to Ukraine.

“It is happening in the backdrop of certain developments which are going to take place, which have an impact on our relationship. So, I believe that this is the purpose of this consultation. First, to get to know each other, you have your regular consultation, come to realize what is happening, and exchange views, because these are the mechanism where we must know how a friend feels about a particular issue and then take the development forward. So, that is the purpose of the visit”, he added.

On Monday, Jaishankar will travel to Russia to co-chair a meeting of the bilateral Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological, and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC) with Russian trade minister Denis Manturov, as well as to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
The visit comes ahead of the G20 summit in Bali, when Russia’s top leaders will meet Western leaders for the first time since the conflict in Ukraine began in February.

In response to this question on if there is a possibility of a meeting between Russian and United States top leaders at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, the former envoy said that he ‘hopes that the meeting does take place and ‘that will be a very

“Any multilateral gathering, particularly in the atmosphere like this which has happened, there is a lot of tension in the air between two sides and if we can do something to diffuse the tension or at least get to know each other viewpoint, that is the purpose of multilateralism discussion. So, I hope that the meeting does take place because instead of fighting through media and making statements, the issues can be discussed directly. Because then it has a better chance to succeed otherwise the whole meaning gets lost and we do not really know what is the stance of the two sides. So, if the two leaders were to meet, to my mind, it will be a very positive step. They may not be able to iron out all the differences because these can’t be done in one or two meetings but it prepares the ground, it prepares the atmosphere because when you are not meeting each other for so long, you imagine certain things. So, I hope that the two leaders do meet because as you know the President of Ukraine has said that there will be no discussion on their bilateral front unless certain actions have been taken by Russian President Vladimir Putin in terms of various things which they have done” the envoy added.

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