Afghanistan occupied a lot of attention, says EAM S Jaishankar on talks with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov

Moscow: External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Friday said the situation in Afghanistan occupied a lot of attention during the talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov as he emphasised the need for both India and Russia to work together to ensure that the progress in the economic, social and democratic terms are maintained in the war-torn country.

Addressing a joint press conference with Lavrov, EAM Jaishankar said, "The terms of specific regions, of course, the situation in Afghanistan occupied a lot of our attention because it has a direct implication for regional security. We believe the immediate need of the day is a reduction in violence."

This remark comes as Afghanistan has witnessed a record level of violence since the US announced its withdrawal from the country. With the latest 31 August deadline approaching, the Taliban is gaining more and more territory.

In view of developing circumstances in Afghanistan, Jaishankar said, "If you have to see peace within Afghanistan and around Afghanistan, it is important for India and Russia to work together to ensure that much of the progress that we have seen in the economic and social and democratic terms are maintained."

Jaishankar added that both India and Russia are committed to an independent, sovereign, united and democratic Afghanistan.

Appreciating Russia's support during the COVID-19 surge in India, the minister said, "Despite the fact that so many things are changing in our world, both before and as a result of the COVID-19, our time tested and trust-based relationship remains very strong, continues to grow."

"I express my appreciation for the support we got from Russia during the second wave of COVID-19. Now India has become a partner of Russia in production and use of Sputnik V vaccine."

The minister said both believe that cooperation in fighting COVID-19 is not only good for two of us but it has positive implications for the rest of the world.

On another front, EAM Jaishankar said, "Overall our sense of economic partnership and science and technology partnership is very positive. It was a very good discussion."