Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will visit India at a mutually convenient date after he accepted the invitation by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar that was handed over by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday.
According to a release by the MEA, the Foreign Secretary called for greater interaction among the think tanks and strategic affairs analysts of India and Russia in line with the ''strong comprehensive bilateral cooperation between Moscow and New Delhi.
"He handed over a letter of invitation from External Affairs Minister of India S Jaishankar to Foreign Minister Lavrov to visit India at a mutually convenient date. Foreign Minister Lavrov accepted the invitation and expressed his desire to visit India at an early date," MEA said.
During consultations with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov on Thursday, the two sides reviewed important aspects of bilateral relations and also exchanged views on regional and international issues.
Both sides agreed on a roadmap for high-level exchanges this year, including the Annual Bilateral Summit, according to the MEA's statement.
"During his interaction at the Russian Diplomatic Academy yesterday, Foreign Secretary highlighted the importance of the India-Russia partnership in the global context. Foreign Secretary also had an enriching exchange of views with experts from prominent Russian think tanks today on bilateral as well as topical global issues," the ministry said.
The Foreign Secretary's visit was preceded by Foreign Office Consultations on UN Security Council (UNSC) matters and policy planning at the DG level between the two sides on February 15 in Moscow.
The visit has been "useful in further strengthening the close, strategic, special and privileged partnership" between India and Russia by identifying an intensive plan of action for bilateral relations this year; agreements on new drivers of our strategic relations, including Russia's keenness to invest in India under the ''Atmanirbhar'' programme; as well as close coordination on the multilateral front in the context of India's current tenure as a non-permanent member in the UNSC and the BRICS Presidency.
"I have had a very useful and productive stay in Moscow. I had an extensive range of meetings and activities -- it has given me a comprehensive overview of the relationship (between India and Russia). But more importantly, it has enabled us to connect with a range of issues that involve keeping the momentum of our close and friendly bilateral relations going," Mr Shringla said.
The Foreign Secretary after meeting with Russian academics and strategic thinkers on the India-Russia relationship said, "One of the decisions we took in our meeting is to have a high-level group that will focus on high technology and areas that represent new technologies for both our countries."
Mr Shringla pointed out that the Sputnik V vaccine is in phase 3 trial in India and we expect this to be completed by mid-March, after which our regulator will look at emergency use authorisation.
"We're looking to collaborate with Russia to manufacture a large amount of Sputnik V vaccine," he said.
He reiterated that India-Russia relation is in a good place adding, "We have a very good understanding on issues that are beyond bilateral -- regional and global. The friendship and cooperation that our two countries enjoy will see us going higher and further in years to come."