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MOSCOW: Russia and India have made tangible progress in talks on plans to jointly produce military equipment, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday, after talks with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in Moscow.

Speaking at a news conference, Lavrov said such cooperation was of a strategic nature and was in both countries’ interests and would help ensure security on the Eurasian continent.

He said Moscow respected India’s desire to diversify its military hardware suppliers and was ready too to support New Delhi’s desire to manufacture things needed by India in India.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian President Vladimir Putin would meet Jaishankar later on Wednesday.

Jaishankar said he expected Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to meet next year.

Jaishankar said he and Lavrov had discussed the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, as well as bilateral trade and investment.

India has become one of Russia’s core economic partners since the West in 2022 imposed sweeping sanctions on Moscow over the war in Ukraine.

Russia has diverted much of its oil exports to India and stepped up diplomacy within the BRICS group of nations, a grouping of which both countries are founding members.

According to Jaishankar, Indian-Russian trade is expected to top $50 billion this year.

He said New Delhi was keen to sign a bilateral investment treaty with Russia as well as a free trade agreement with the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union.

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