The foreign ministers of Britain and Russia are visiting India as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to maintain ties with both Moscow and Western nations despite the worsening Ukraine war and humanitarian crisis.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss met with her Indian counterpart, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, on Thursday and discussed ways to strengthen defence ties, apparently to reduce India’s strategic dependence on Russia, officials said.
“The implication of this (Ukraine) crisis is far-reaching. We are seeing global food shortages, energy shortages and security threatened. This to me highlights the need for like-minded nations to work together and for us to work more closely with India to strengthen our economic ties, security ties and defence ties,” Truss said at a separate meeting of the India-UK Strategic Futures Forum.
She also called for tighter sanctions to check Russia’s ability to use gold reserves and oil and gas revenues, and said that next week’s meeting of the Group of Seven major industrialized nations will discuss a timeline for reducing energy dependence on Moscow.
In January, India and Britain launched talks on a free trade deal that is expected to double their current $50 billion bilateral trade by 2030.
“Working together to realise Roadmap 2030,” Jaishankar tweeted after receiving Truss.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Jaishankar by telephone and discussed the worsening humanitarian situation in Ukraine. They also discussed the two nations’ efforts to promote a free, open, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific, US.spokesperson Ned Price said.
Truss and Jaishankar met hours before the arrival in New Delhi of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who will hold talks with Jaishankar on the Ukraine crisis.