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SCO: Jaishankar meets Russian FM Lavrov in Astana, raises “strong concern” on indian nationals in war zone

PoliticsSCO: Jaishankar meets Russian FM Lavrov in Astana, raises “strong concern” on indian nationals in war zone

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held discussions with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Heads of State Council meeting in Astana on Wednesday.

During the meeting, Jaishankar expressed “strong concern” about the safety of Indian nationals in the war zone in Russia. He emphasized the need for their safe and prompt return.

“Good to meet Russian FM Sergey Lavrov in Astana today. We had a wide-ranging conversation on our bilateral partnership and contemporary issues, noting the progress in many areas since our last meeting in December 2023,” Jaishankar wrote in a post on X. “Raised our strong concern about Indian nationals currently in the war zone. Pressed for their safe and expeditious return,” he added.

The leaders also discussed the global strategic landscape, exchanging assessments and views on various matters.

In June, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) reported that two Indian nationals recruited by the Russian Army were killed in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The MEA has since been actively pursuing the early release and return of all Indian nationals in the Russian Army.

“The Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Embassy in Moscow have strongly taken up the matter with the Russian Ambassador in New Delhi and with Russian authorities in Moscow for the early release and return of all Indian nationals,” the MEA stated.

The MEA has urged Indian nationals to exercise caution when seeking employment opportunities in Russia. In March, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal confirmed that India is in constant touch with Russian authorities to secure the release and discharge of Indian nationals from the Russian army at the earliest.

When asked for an update on Indians duped by agents and sent to Russia to join the military, Jaiswal reiterated, “We are constantly in touch with Russian authorities. We have taken up the matter strongly to have our nationals released and discharged as early as possible.”

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