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'Need to have direct understanding': Jaishankar on India-Russia relations in St Petersburg

This comes after Jaishankar met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Wednesday, where the latter invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Russia next year. Putin told Jaishankar that Russia's relations with India and its people are making "steady headway" despite "current turbulences".

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee St Petersburg Published on: December 28, 2023 23:37 IST
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during the
Image Source : ANI External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during the roundtable conference with Indologists in St Petersburg.

As his five-day trip to Russia continues, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday spoke on the relations between India and Russia, saying that they go 'deeper' beyond diplomacy and politics and asserted the need for the two countries to have a "direct understanding of each other".

Speaking at a roundtable conference with Indologists at St Petersburg State University, Jaishankar said, "The relationship between India and Russia is not just about politics or diplomacy or economics. It is something much deeper." He also highlighted the role of intellectuals in providing directions to this understanding and bonding.

"Given the geopolitical state of the world, it is today particularly important that we have a direct understanding of each other than other countries, or societies and other nations. To me, Indology is something beyond knowledge and scholarship, beyond culture and tradition. It's an effort and investment to directly first-hand understand society, which is very important," he said at the event.

This comes after the minister met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Wednesday, where the latter invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Russia next year and expressed his best wishes for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in India.

'International relations based on Indian characteristics'

During the event, the EAM stressed that international relations should be shaped keeping Indian characteristics in mind, highlighting India's progress towards becoming a $4 trillion economy and a developed country in the next 25 years.

"We speak today of a multipolar world, so there is a rebalancing in the world. It's not a world that is dominated by a few countries, societies, traditions. In this rebalancing, it is also important...to develop international relations with Indian characteristics is my major preoccupation," he said at the conference.

"Today, when you look at India, we are an economy, which is approaching 4 trillion dollars...You can see our effort is to ensure that in the next 25 years, we are successful and become a developed country.

A developed country doesn't just mean a developed economy, it is also a country which is aware, conscious and proud of its traditions, heritage and culture," the minister added.

What did Putin say about India?

During their meeting on Wednesday, Putin told Jaishankar that Russia's relations with India and its people are making "steady headway" despite "current turbulences" in the world. He also exuded confidence that the two allies will maintain their friendly relations in "any alignment of political forces" after elections in India.

He also noted that the trade between the two countries has risen to an all-time high, surpassing the numbers from last year, while expressing cooperation on energy resources like oil and coal and other high-tech areas.

"We know Prime Minister Modi’s position and we have repeatedly spoken about this — the position concerning his attitude to complex processes, including hotspots, to the situation in Ukraine. I have repeatedly informed him about the situation around this conflict. I know about his desire to do everything to resolve this problem peacefully, but we will now talk more about it," Putin said.

The Kremlin leader further spoke on an opportunity to discuss current issues and prospects of developing India-Russia relations with PM Modi. "So I would like to ask you to convey to him my best wishes and please, give him our invitation – we are looking forward to seeing him in Russia," Putin said.

Jaishankar, on his part, conveyed the personal greetings of Prime Minister Modi and also handed over a letter to Putin in which he expressed his thoughts about the state of India-Russia cooperation and the progress that the two sides have made in recent days, according to a press release issued by the Kremlin.

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | Putin invites PM Modi to visit Russia in meeting with Jaishankar

ALSO READ | Russia reiterates support for India's permanent membership in UN Security Council

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