Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov praised India for not taking a “one-sided view” of the war in Ukraine, before paying homage to the ‘strategic partnership’ between the two nations. As relations between Russia and Western countries continues to worsen during the invasion of Ukraine, Lavrov spoke of common ground with India and said the two nations “always respect each other’s interests”.
Speaking during a visit to India on Friday, Lavrov said: “The relations [with India] are a strategic partnership developed over many decades, an especially privileged partnership as our Indian friends called it some time ago.
“This was the basis on which we have been promoting our cooperation in all areas: economy, military, technical, humanitarian, investment and in many other fields.
“I believe that Indian foreign policy is characterised by independence and the concentration on real, legitimate national interests.
“The same policy basis exists in the Russian federation, and this makes us, as big countries, good friends and old partners, and an important part of the international relations. We always respect each other’s interests.”
Other than China, India remains one of the only countries not to openly condemn what Russia has called a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Lavrov visited the Indian capital of New Delhi to meet his Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar this week.
In a swipe at the Western world, Lavrov heralded India’s view of the situation in Ukraine, applauding their desire to look at the “entirety of facts and not just in a one-sided way”.
He added: “I have no doubt that a way would be (found) to bypass the artificial impediments which illegal unilateral sanctions by the West create. This relates also to the area of military-technical cooperation.”
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Russia is the number one supplier of defence equipment to India and Lavrov announced that the two nations would use a rupee-rouble mechanism to trade with each other, “bypassing” other currencies.
The Russian foreign minister said their central bank had already established a system for financial interaction and that India had developed a similar system.
Lavrov said: “It is absolutely clear that more and more transactions would be done through this system using national currencies, bypassing dollar, euro and other currencies.”
He also met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to brief him on the situation in Ukraine, after Modi called for “an early cessation of violence” in the region.