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India, Russia NSAs discuss security cooperation in Moscow

India’s National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval met his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev in Moscow on Wednesday and held discussions on a wide range of bilateral and international issues.

The Russian embassy, in a statement, said the talks included cooperation in the area of security, as well as topical problems in the region.

“On August 17 in Moscow, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev held talks with National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of India Ajit Doval,” the Russian embassy in India tweeted.

“A wide range of issues of bilateral cooperation in the area of security, as well as topical problems on the regional and international agenda, were discussed,” the embassy said.

The Russian said that the two sides agreed to continue the dialogue between the Security Councils of the two countries. “The Sides agreed to continue the dialogue between the two countries’ Security Councils, having emphasized the progressive development of the Russian-Indian special and privileged strategic partnership,” the embassy said.

This visit comes as India continues to engage with Russia on a number of issues including India’s energy security amid the Ukraine conflict.

It is learnt that various aspects of overall bilateral strategic cooperation and the situation in Afghanistan figured in the discussions, according to news agency PTI.

India has not yet condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and it has been maintaining that the crisis must be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue.

In the last few months, India has also increased the import of discounted crude oil from Russia notwithstanding increasing disquiet over it by several Western powers.

India’s crude oil imports from Russia have jumped over 50 times since April and now it makes up for 10 per cent of all crude bought from overseas.

Last month, Russian Ambassador Denis Alipov said Russia appreciates India for not supporting attempts to isolate it in multilateral forums and that bilateral trade between the two countries is on an upswing.

India has also been in touch with several leading powers including Russia on the situation in Afghanistan.

In June, India re-established its diplomatic presence in Kabul by deploying a “technical team” in its embassy in the Afghan capital.

India had withdrawn its officials from the embassy after the Taliban seized power last August following concerns over their security.

A US media report recently said Russia surpassed Saudi Arabia in June to become the second-biggest supplier of crude to India. New Delhi has maintained that its oil import from Moscow will be guided by its energy security needs.

On Tuesday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar defended India’s crude oil imports from Russia and termed it the “best deal” for the country.

Addressing the Indian community in Bangkok, Jaishankar discussed the surge in energy prices across the world due to the Russia-Ukraine war and said, “We have been very open and honest about our interest. I have a country with a per capita income of USD 2000, these are not people who can afford higher energy prices. It’s my moral duty to ensure the best deal.”

Explaining how oil and gas prices are unreasonably high throughout the world, the External Affairs Minister said Europe was buying more oil from the Middle East countries which were Asia’s traditional suppliers, however, now it was diverted to Europe.

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