MOSCOW, April 7. /TASS/. Russia is ready to scale up cooperation with India and Pakistan in fighting the pandemic and in the military-technical sphere, as well as welcomes their recent steps on improving a dialogue. These issues were discussed during talks of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with his colleagues during his "Asian tour" which started on Monday.
TASS collected main points discussed during the trip of the Russian top diplomat to South Asia.
Russia has already agreed to produce the Sputnik V vaccine in India and doesn’t exclude production of Indian preparations on its territory.
Moscow thinks that the vaccine production is also promising in Pakistan which so far has received only 50,000 doses of the Russian preparation and will soon receive 150,000 more. The Russian Foreign Minister admitted that the country’s needs are "much greater" yet "everything still depends on the ability to produce this vaccine."
His Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi reiterated that Islamabad had already approved the use of Sputnik V (registration in India is expected within the next few days) and local authorities have confidence in its efficacy.
The Russian top diplomat has also discussed joint arms production with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, reiterating that Russia is the only country "that actually provides India with cutting-edge defense technologies" yet respects India’s right to diversify its ties in this sphere.
At the same time, Moscow does not feel "any hesitation" on the part of New Delhi over Washington’s pressure, since the US expresses serious discontent with the Russian-Indian military and technical cooperation.
Russia is not ready yet to manufacture arms in Pakistan but will supply the republic with military equipment in order to "strengthen its anti-terrorist potential" and will participate in regular joint drills, such as "Druzhba" (Friendship) and the "Arabian Monsoon."
Russia thinks that the best way to discuss settlement in Afghanistan is the so-called Moscow format including "not just immediate neighbors" of the republic. Moscow is ready to put together such a conference to accelerate progress along the intra-Afghan negotiation track which "has run into serious problems and has stalled recently," Lavrov stated.
Moscow hopes that accords concluded between the United States and the Taliban group (outlawed in Russia) will be honored yet together with Pakistan is alarmed by increased activity of terrorist groups in northern and eastern Afghanistan.
Conflicts in Asia
Moscow welcomes recent steps by Pakistan and India on normalizing bilateral relations and hopes that New Delhi will manage to find ways of settling its border standoff with Beijing, the Russian chief diplomat said. In general, Moscow is ready to "facilitate in every possible way" a peaceful resolution of conflicts in South Asia.
The Russian Foreign Minister reiterated Moscow’s stance regarding US actions in Asia: Russia is strongly against "dividing geopolitical frameworks" being built under Washington’s auspices and expressly supports "open frameworks" formed with the central role of ASEAN.