Foreign Secretary to visit Beijing, Moscow next week

April 11, 2014 07:19 pm | Updated May 21, 2016 10:35 am IST - NEW DELHI

Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh will be visiting Beijing and Moscow next week.  A file photo: V.Sudershan.

Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh will be visiting Beijing and Moscow next week. A file photo: V.Sudershan.

Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh will travel to Beijing and Moscow next week to ensure the momentum in >bilateral initiatives does not flag while the country is in the middle of choosing its next Government.

The intention behind sending the highest ranking civil servant from the Foreign Ministry is to evaluate the relationships and set out markers for the next Government to pursue.

Officials believe the visit will help keep the issues in focus because it will be a while before the top leadership of the next Government gets down to tackling the nuts and bolts of bilateral ties. Its first priority in the first couple of months would be to deal with the Parliament Session and presentation of the Budget.

The last high level political interaction with China took place towards the end of last year and another is unlikely till the end of the year when its President Xi Jinping may come to India. India has already held the Strategic Economic Dialogue last month and the Strategic Dialogue between Ms. Singh and her counterpart Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin will review the entire range of bilateral relations including plans for leadership-level visits in the second half of the year.

With Russia, a lot has changed in the past couple of months due to the turmoil in Ukraine. Late last year, the Indian Ambassador in Moscow had reported no response to an Indian request for oil blocks. Last month, as Russia was in need for support after annexing Crimea, a top energy official Igor Sechin flew into India to promise oil wells and even a pipeline.

India will also be keen to assess the situation in Ukraine, especially in the eastern part which is largely hostile to the interim Government in Kiev. Some major military-industrial complexes in eastern Ukraine supply crucial components for Russian made helicopters, frigates, destroyers and transport planes, all of which have been bought in large numbers by India in the past. Stability is crucial for the smooth upkeep of these systems being used by all the three services of the military.

Ms. Singh will hold annual Foreign Office Consultations with First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov and Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov. They will also review the calendar of bilateral high-level exchanges in the run-up to the annual summit later this year, said a External Affairs Ministry news release.

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