UK, Russia foreign ministers to visit India amid criticism of New Delhi's Ukraine war stance

UK, Russia foreign ministers to visit India amid criticism of New Delhi's Ukraine war stance
Several foreign leaders have visited India in recent weeks following New Delhi's steadfast refusal to condemn Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
2 min read
29 March, 2022
India's foreign minister S. Jaishankar is set to meet his counterparts from the UK and Russia later this week [Getty]

The UK and Russian foreign ministers are set to visit India this week with the war in Ukraine likely to top the agenda, according to multiple reports.

The UK’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will visit New Delhi on 31 March, according to a statement from India's foreign ministry, to discuss "bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest".

"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," read the statement.

India has been criticised by Western allies for not condemning Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Truss will reportedly push India to support Russia's withdrawal from Ukraine, during her visit.

The Times of India reported that both countries are likely to call for an immediate end to the violence in Ukraine and discuss humanitarian assistance to Kyiv.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is also due to arrive in the Indian capital on the same day and is scheduled to meet his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar on 1 April.

The agenda has not yet been set, according to the Hindustan Times, but it is expected that Ukraine will be a priority.

There has been a flurry of top diplomats visiting India over the last few weeks. This includes the foreign ministers of Austria and Greece and the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was due to visit New Delhi this week but has postponed his trip after testing positive for Covid-19.

India's position as one of the few world powers not to condemn Russia's invasion has made it a target for criticism from the US and Europe, and it has continued to trade with Moscow despite Russia's growing isolation.

It is likely that Russian and Indian officials will discuss trade and alternate payment mechanisms to bypass the raft of international sanctions imposed on Russia.

India's dependence on Russian expertise runs deep. Around 60 percent of New Delhi's defence arsenal was made in Russia or in its predecessor the Soviet Union, and the two countries have had close ties for decades.