India hosted this dialogue in 2021 followed by Tajikistan in 2022. Last month, India also hosted Central Asian NSAs with a special focus on Afghanistan.
The Moscow dialogue on Afghanistan will be useful for India’s SCO presidency as the situation in the landlocked country and the terror infrastructure there is a matter of concern for Eurasian actors including India, people familiar with the matter told ET.
The Moscow visit will also provide Doval opportunity to meet Patrushev among his other counterparts, ET has learnt. This will also be a useful exercise for India’s SCO presidency. India will host the SCO NSAs meet ahead of the summit in June.
Doval last visited Moscow in 2022 for bilateral dialogue that gave momentum to strategic and economic partnership, resulting in a big surge in bilateral trade.
In what was a low-profile but important visit last year, Doval and Patrushev, with whom he shares a strong chemistry, reviewed progress on bilateral and regional issues regarding the situation in Afghanistan, energy security, defence ties, counter-terrorism and the status of war in Ukraine, ET had then reported. Patrushev is one of the closest confidantes of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A key item on the agenda of Doval’s visit last year was defence ties including maintenance and servicing of Russian-origin equipment in India. Russia has appreciated India’s neutral and balanced position on Ukraine. Russia has become India’s largest supplier of crude oil.