In this photo provided by Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar's Twitter handle, Jaishankar and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov stand for photographs before their meeting in New Delhi, India, Friday, April 1, 2022. Image Credit: AP

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held bilateral talks here on Friday, which comes amid Moscow’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

Lavrov arrived in New Delhi on Thursday, marking the first visit by a top Russian official to India since the war began on February 24.

Ahead of the meeting, Jaishankar said their talks are taking place in a “difficult international environment quite apart from the pandemic”.

“India, as you are aware, has always been in favour of resolving differences and disputes through dialogue and diplomacy.

“In our meeting today, we will have an opportunity to discuss contemporary issues and concerns in some detail. I look forward to our discussions,” the External Affairs Minister said.

Jaishankar also noted that 2022 is an “important year in our bilateral relations as we mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations”.

“Despite the Covid related difficulties, last year turned out to be one of intense bilateral activity that included holding the inaugural 2+2 meeting and, of course, the 21st Annual Summit.”

He further said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin have been in “regular touch and have spoken to each other on multiple occasions this year”.

“Our bilateral relations has continued to grow in many areas and we have diversified our cooperation by expanding our agenda.”

Since the start of war, India has been facing pressure from the West and its allies to take a stronger stand against Russia.

The war between Russia and Ukraine cost India’s military capabilities dearly with delivery of many platforms like nuclear powered submarines, Grigorovich class frigates, fighter jets, Triumf S-400, AK 203 assault rifle and others expected to be delayed.