NEW DELHI ( Associated Press) – The foreign ministers of Britain and Russia are visiting India as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to maintain relations with both Moscow and the West despite the worsening of the Ukraine war and humanitarian crisis.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss met her Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Thursday and discussed ways to strengthen defense ties, apparently to reduce India’s strategic dependence on Russia, officials said.
Western countries are disappointed by India’s reluctance to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. India, locked in a two-year border standoff with China, is largely dependent on Russia for military supplies.
Before leaving for New Delhi, Truss in a statement underscored the “need for free democracies to work together in areas such as defence, trade and cyber security in the context of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine”.
In January, India and Britain began talks on a free trade deal that is expected to double their current bilateral trade of $50 billion by 2030.
After getting the truce, Jaishankar tweeted, “Working together to make Roadmap 2030 a reality.”
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Jaishankar over telephone and discussed the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Ukraine. US spokesman Ned Price said they also discussed the two countries’ efforts to promote a free, open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
Truss and Jaishankar met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who is scheduled to hold talks with Jaishankar on Friday, in an effort to prevent India’s military and trade ties with Russia from becoming a victim of the Ukraine crisis, hours before their arrival in New Delhi. .
Earlier this month, India hosted Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
US Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economics Dalip Singh visited New Delhi this week to promote economic growth and discuss deeper cooperation in a free and open Indo-Pacific region, the US Embassy said.