Russian FM to visit Colombo before proceeding to New Delhi

[TamilNet, Thursday, 26 December 2019, 23:28 GMT]
After conducting joint naval training with Iran and China in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman in December 2019, Russia is dispatching its Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Colombo on 14 January 2020. He will proceed to New Delhi on the following day. In the meantime, China, Russia and Iran are conducting a four-day naval drill between Friday and Monday. The trilateral training is the first of its kind and comes amidst escalating tensions between the US and Iran since 2018. China is sending a guided-missile destroyer, Xining, to the drill, stated China's Defence Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian in a statement on Thursday.

The Gulf of Oman is linking with the Strait of Hormuz, which is one of the critical oil chokepoints of the world.

The gulf is a sensitive place and also vital to global energy transport, and its situation "could largely affect China's economy and security," reported Global Times, the English version of the paper operated by the Communist Party of China. It was quoting Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and commentator.

In the meantime, the Russian government-owned news agency, TASS, reported on Thursday that the Russian Foreign Minister would be visiting Sri Lanka and India on January 14-15.

Full text of the TASS report follows:

MOSCOW, December 26. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will visit Sri Lanka and India on January 14-15, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated during Thursday’s briefing.

"On January 14-15, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will come to Sri Lanka and India on a working visit," she noted.

According to her, on January 14, Lavrov will meet with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, also planning to hold talks with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. "They plan to discuss the current state of relations between Russia and Sri Lanka, the prospects for promoting political dialogue, developing cooperation in the trade-economic, humanitarian and other spheres, as well as to discuss expanding the bilateral treaty and legal basis. Special attention will be paid to expanding cooperation within international organizations, namely within the UN and its specialized bodies," the spokeswoman said.

The diplomat noted that on January 15, Lavrov would hold talks with his Indian colleague Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in New Delhi. "The foreign ministers will consider the current state and prospects of development of bilateral relations in light of the goals outlined on the outcomes of the XX Russian-Indian Summit that took place on September 4-5 in Vladivostok. They will also discuss the 2020 schedule of upcoming top-level political contacts. They plan to have a comprehensive exchange of opinions on regional and international issues," she said. Zakharova added that the Russian top diplomat also plans to take part in the Raisina Dialogue conference set to take place in the Indian capital on January 14-16.

External Links:
Global Times: China-Russia-Iran joint military drill cautions US: analyst
China's MoD: China, Russia, Iran to hold joint naval exercise
TASS: Russian foreign minister to visit Sri Lanka, India on January 14-15
The Telegraph: China, Russia and Iran to hold joint naval drills



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