India's foreign secretary arrives in Russia for a two-day visit

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaWritten By: Sidhant SibalUpdated: Feb 17, 2021, 09:12 AM IST

Speaking at the inaugural session of the Training Module on India’s Neighbourhood at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie, the foreign secretary emphasised on the role of connectivity in the region. Photograph:(WION)

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COVID vaccines will be another focus area with Russia's COVID vaccine, Sputnik V, expected to be given regulatory approval for use by India

India's foreign secretary Harsh Shringla arrived in Moscow for a two-day visit during which he will hold meetings with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov for the India-Russia Foreign Office Consultations.

On his arrival, the Foreign Secretary said, "I am very happy to be here in the beautiful city of Moscow...travelling in these covid times gives an indication of the importance we attached to our relation with Russia".

This will be the first foreign visit of the foreign secretary this year. 

Foreign Secretary will also meet Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and deliver a speech on ’India-Russia relations’ at the prestigious Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"We are on our way to see how we can momentum to an already vibrant relationship, a very strong India Russia special and privileged strategic partnership," he said.

Russia and India are engaged in a number of fields, with defence being a key pillar of partnership. India will be getting the first batch of the S400 air defense system by the end of this year. Both are already moving towards the successful implementation of AK-203 Kalashnikov contract.

Ahead of the visit, India's envoy to Russia D. B. Venkatesh Varma said that the meeting will set forth an "active and ambitious" agenda for bilateral relations including the annual bilateral summit between India and Russia that will see Russian President Vladimir Putin visiting India. 

Adding, "India Russia relations are rock solid, strategic partnership diverse" and "foreign secretary's visit is intended to further deepen our cooperation in all sectors. We will also expand our cooperation including to build on PM Modi's visit to Vladivostok in September 2019."

COVID vaccines will be another focus area with Russia's COVID vaccine, Sputnik V, expected to be given regulatory approval for use by India in the next few weeks.

Envoy Varma said, "There is a lot of excitement here in Moscow, about how India and Russia can cooperate with respect to covid pandemic including in the fields of vaccines. That will be another area of discussion".

Last year, India's defence minister visited Moscow 2 times, first time for the 75th anniversary of victory day and then for the Shanghai cooperation organization or SCO defense minister. The Indian external affairs minister Dr. S Jaishankar visited the country too for the SCO FMs meet.

WION was the first channel to break the story of FS's Russia visit last week.