External Affairs Minister (EAM) Jaishankar is scheduled to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov today (Friday) to hold talks on bilateral cooperation at the various multilateral forums, including cooperation in the fight against Covid-19 and compare notes on major global and regional issues, including the political process in Afghanistan. The situation in Afghanistan, forthcoming India-Russia meetings, and bilateral cooperation in security and defence will figure in talks between the two external affairs minister today in Moscow.

Mr Jaishankar is on a three-day visit to Russia, which began on Wednesday. On Thursday he commented on the Indo-Russia relationship saying that “it has been among the steadiest in the world”. He called for constant nurturing of the bilateral ties that have remained strong years after the Second World War.

The two sides will also discuss cooperation at the UN, Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) “in the RIC format”, the Russian foreign ministry said, referring to the Russia-India-China grouping. In an indication of the differences between India and Russia on the Indo-Pacific concept, the Russian foreign ministry said the discussions are also expected to touch up “approaches to the formation of reliable and indivisible security architecture in the Pacific and Indian oceans”.

Foreign ministers are also expected to discuss key directions of the Russian-Indian relations, taking into account the previously reached agreements and upcoming contacts, in particular at the highest and high levels. The Russian foreign ministry said the two countries share a similar vision of a “model of an emerging more fair and equitable polycentric world order”, and “demonstrate the similarity or proximity of positions on the most important issues of peace and security”.

Lavrov visited New Delhi in April, hence Jaishankar’s visit to Moscow is a follow-up to his trip. Besides holding talks with Lavrov, Jaishankar will also meet Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, his counterpart for the inter-governmental commission on trade, economic, scientific, technological and cultural cooperation, and the chairman of the state Duma committee on international affairs.