India has said its relations with Moscow is “important” and the annual India, Russia summit which was to take place this year was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both countries have an annual summit mechanism at leaders’ level that alternates between India and Russia.
Ministry of external affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava in a statement said, “The India-Russia annual summit did not take place in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a mutually agreed decision between the two governments.”
Last year the summit happened in Russia’s far eastern city of Vladivostok with Indian Prime Minister travelling to Russia, before that it took place in Delhi in 2018 with Russian President Putin travelling to India.
Meanwhile, the Russian ambassador to Delhi Nikolay Kudashev said, “Special and privileged strategic partnership” between Russia and India is “progressing well despite COVID-19” and the Russian side is “staying in close touch with our Indian friends to work out new dates for the summit, postponed due to epidemiological reasons.”
He highlighted that “we are confident that it will be held in the near future, while the Russian-Indian relations will continue its further development.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin have spoken to each other four times this year.
Both Indian external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar and defence minister Rajnath Singh had travelled to Moscow in September for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meetings.
In fact, defence minister Rajnath Singhhad also visited the country for the Victory Day parade.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic, international travel has significantly impacted.
For the first time this year, the annual United Nations General assembly meeting in September and other major summits like G20, BRICS and SCO happened virtually. The last foreign visit of Indian prime minister was in November of 2019 and since then he hasn’t gone abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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