In the first such New Delhi-Moscow contact since the failed Wagner group mutiny in Russia, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval spoke to his counterpart Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of Russia’s Security Council, on June 29. They discussed the developments as well as bilateral and multilateral ties.
“The current issues of Russian-Indian cooperation in the field of security and the prospects for their deepening within the framework of bilateral and multilateral formats were discussed in detail,” the council said.
“[Nikolai] Patrushev informed A. Doval about the latest events in Russia”, it added, indicating that Mr. Doval was briefed about events since June 24, when the chief of the Wagner militia group Yevgeny Prigozhin took over a Russian town, and marched his forces towards Moscow before abruptly calling them off and fleeing to Belarus.
“The interlocutors agreed to continue a confidential dialogue,” the council added in its statement. Mr. Patrushev and Mr. Doval have been in regular touch on security issues. Setting aside protocol, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Mr. Patrushev during his visit to Delhi in March, while President Vladimir Putin had held talks with Mr. Doval in Moscow
The call by Mr. Patrushev was part of a number of conversations the Kremlin has had to brief allies and partners after the short-lived rebellion, and reassure them about the situation in Russia.
Over the past few days, Mr. Putin has spoken to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who played a role in mediating the climbdown by Mr. Prigozhin. He also spoke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Central Asian leaders, including Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, and Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke to Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian to brief him on the developments as well.
Mr. Patrushev’s call to Mr. Doval comes a week ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit, which Mr. Modi will host virtually. Mr. Putin and leaders of China, Pakistan and Central Asian countries are expected to attend the summit. Iran is expected to be inducted as an SCO member during the summit.
In addition, Mr. Modi has invited Mr. Putin to attend the G-20 summit in Delhi on September 9 and 10.
Speaking about the “unique” strength of India-Russia ties on Wednesday, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said ties had “been held steady” despite turbulence in the world.
He said that it was a mistake to “dumb down” the India-Russia relationship by speaking only of India’s considerable defence dependencies on Russian military supplies, and pointed to the “geopolitical logic” of steady security cooperation and the growth in bilateral trade, which has been boosted by Indian oil imports from Russia.