US Deputy NSA set to travel to Delhi this week ahead of '2+2' talks
New Delhi, Mar 29: US Deputy National Security Adviser Daleep Singh, known to be a key architect of Washington's punitive economic sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, is set to travel to India this week coinciding with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's visit to New Delhi.
The preparations for the upcoming '2+2' foreign and defence ministerial dialogue in Washington next month are also likely to figure during Singh's visit. The dialogue is likely to take place around April 11.
People familiar with the development said on Tuesday that details of the proposed visit by the US official are being worked out and indicated that it will take place around the same time when Lavrov is planning to visit India.
There is no official word on the US Deputy NSA's visit to India yet.
It is learnt that Lavrov is likely to arrive in India either on Thursday evening or Friday morning after concluding a two-day trip to China.
Singh's planned trip to India comes in the midst of a flurry of high-profile visits to the country which included British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and German Foreign and Security Policy Advisor Jens Plotner.
While Truss will visit India on March 31, Plotner will pay a day-long trip to New Delhi on Wednesday, the people cited above said.
The British Foreign Secretary is set to hold talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Last week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited India. EU Special Envoy for the Indo-Pacific Gabriele Visentin visited New Delhi this week.
US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland and foreign ministers of Austria and Greece were also in India last week.
Singh, the US Deputy National Security Advisor for international economics, is set to hold talks with senior Indian officials on a range of issues including the Ukraine crisis.
The people said the preparations for the '2+2' foreign and defence ministerial dialogue in Washington are also likely to figure in the talks between the two sides during Singh's visit to India.
External Affairs Minister Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will travel to Washington to hold talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.
The people said the Ukraine crisis is likely to be the main focus of the US official's visit to India.
Unlike many other leading powers, India has not yet criticised Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and it abstained from the votes at the UN platforms in condemning the Russian aggression.
However, last Thursday, India abstained on a resolution pushed by Russia on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, which was seen as reflective of its neutral position on the conflict.
India has been pressing for the resolution of the crisis through diplomacy and dialogue.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has held phone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24, March 2 and March 7.
Modi has spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy twice.
Last week, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar said in Parliament that India's position on the Ukraine conflict has been "steadfast and consistent" and that it has been seeking immediate cessation of violence.