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External Affairs Minister Jaishankar speaks to US Secretary of State, Russian counterpart

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New Delhi, Jan 4: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held separate telephonic talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov covering a range of key bilateral, regional and global issues.

While Jaishankar's talks with Blinken on Monday night covered various issues including the situation in Indo-Pacific, the conversation with Russian foreign minister Lavrov on Tuesday was focused on the follow-up of the recent summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin.

EAM Jaishankar speaks to US Secretary of State, Russian counterpart

"A broad ranging conversation yesterday night with @SecBlinken. Covered current bilateral issues, Indo-Pacific and pressing global matters. Also exchanged New Year greetings," the external affairs minister tweeted on his talks with Blinken. It is understood that the situation in Afghanistan also figured in the conversation. India's ties with the US have witnessed a significant upswing in the last few months on a range of issues including the situation in the Indo-Pacific and tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conversation came as the two sides are preparing for the next edition of the 'two-plus-two' foreign and defence ministerial talks. The 'two-plus-two' dialogue is likely to take place later this month or in February in Washington.

"Glad to exchange New Year greetings with Russian FM Sergey Lavrov this evening. Discussed the follow up of the Annual Summit and 2+2 Meeting. Agreed to remain in regular touch," Jaishankar said in another tweet.

A Russian readout said the two ministers discussed practical issues of bilateral cooperation as well as "confirmed the intention to consistently strengthen relations of the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two states in the spheres of economy and investments, nuclear energy, space, high technologies and healthcare."

It said the ministers agreed on further steps to expand interaction in regional and international affairs, including cooperation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), RIC (Russia-India-China), as well as in the UN and the UN Security Council. "They also exchanged views on preparations for the upcoming high-level contacts, including a meeting of the Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation, as well as meetings between the leadership of the foreign ministries," the readout said.

This comes two weeks after Prime Minister Modi and President Putin held a phone conversation covering bilateral defence cooperation, supply of fertilisers and ways to enhance India's engagement with the Russian Far Eastern region. Putin visited Delhi India on December 6 and participated in the 21st India-Russia annual summit that witnessed the inking of 28 pacts between the two sides to further broad-base their bilateral ties.

At the summit, the two sides had also vowed to ramp up cooperation in confronting major challenges such as terrorism, radicalism and in dealing with the situation in Afghanistan. PTI

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