RUSSIA’S foreign minister Sergei Lavrov will visit India for a two-day visit beginning on Thursday (31), officials said.
He is likely to press New Delhi to resist Western pressure to condemn the Ukraine invasion.
India has abstained from UN resolutions censuring Russia and continues to buy Russian oil and other goods.
Lavrov’s trip coincides with visits by British foreign secretary Liz Truss and Daleep Singh, Washington’s chief sanctions strategist.
Truss and Singh, the US deputy national security advisor for international economics, were expected to urge India to assist in Western efforts to isolate Russia economically.
Singh “will consult closely with (Indian) counterparts on the consequences of Russia’s unjustified war against Ukraine and mitigating its impact on the global economy,” the White House said.
Lavrov was due to arrive in India from China, which has also refused to condemn the invasion and has provided a level of diplomatic cover for an increasingly isolated Russia.
In a video released ahead of a meeting with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, Lavrov said the world was “living through a very serious stage in the history of international relations”.
At the end of this reshaping of global relations “we, together with you, and with our sympathisers will move towards a multipolar, just, democratic world order”, Lavrov said.
India has been buying up discounted Russian oil and is working with Moscow on a rupee-rouble trade mechanism to facilitate trade, according to media reports.
A team from Russia’s central bank is in India this week to discuss payment mechanisms, the Hindu daily reported.
“When the highest god of the West, US President Joe Biden, has already said that India is shaky on Russia and we have ignored it already, why should we be worried about the way some in the West see this visit?” New Delhi-based Russia expert Nandan Unnikrishnan from the Observer Research Foundation said.
“We should look at everything from the prism of our own national interests. The Western perspectives won’t determine our national interests.”