Liz Truss and Russian foreign minister Lavrov set to visit India Britain’s foreign secretary Liz Truss. (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
BRITISH foreign secretary Elizabeth Truss will visit India on Thursday (31) against the backdrop of the ongoing war in Ukraine.
India’s ministry of external affairs (MEA) on Monday (28) said Truss will hold consultations with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.
Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is also likely to visit India in the next one week, but his trip is not officially confirmed.
There has been a flurry of visits to India by several Western leaders, including the foreign ministers of Austria and Greece and US undersecretary of state for political affairs Victoria Nuland, in the last few weeks.
The unfolding situation in Ukraine is likely to be discussed extensively during Truss’s talks with Jaishankar.
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“The visit will also serve to further deepen our partnership across various sectors such as trade and investment, science, technology and innovation, defence and security, climate cooperation, education and digital communications,” the MEA said in a statement.
It said Truss would participate in the inaugural edition of the India-UK Strategic Futures Forum.
The India-UK relationship was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during a virtual summit held between prime minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson in May last year.
At the summit, the two sides adopted a 10-year-roadmap to expand ties in the key areas of trade and economy, defence and security, climate change and people-to-people connections.
This would be the second visit of the UK foreign secretary to India since the virtual summit.
The MEA said Truss’ visit would also provide an opportunity to assess the progress on the ‘Roadmap 2030’.
During Lavrov’s likely to visit India, the key focus is expected to be discussions on a payment system for New Delhi’s procurement of oil and military hardware from Moscow, people familiar with the developments said.
It would be the highest-level visit from Russia to India after Moscow launched its military offensive against Ukraine.
Western sanctions on Russia have created difficulties in making payments to that country. It is learnt that both sides have been looking at activating a rupee-ruble payment system.
Unlike many other leading powers, India has not yet criticised Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and it abstained from the votes at the UN platforms in condemning the Russian aggression.
India also abstained on a resolution pushed by Russia last week on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, which was seen as reflective of its neutral position on the conflict.