Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to visit India: Report

Indian central bank officials and their Russian counterparts are meeting ahead of the visit by Mr Sergei Lavrov. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (BLOOMBERG) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will visit New Delhi this week, The Hindu newspaper reported, citing unnamed officials.

The visit would the highest-level visit from Moscow since President Vladimir Putin's attack on Ukraine.

Indian and Russian officials are expected to discuss the sale of Russian crude oil to India and also work out a rupee-rouble denominated payment method for oil and other goods that could work outside the SWIFT messaging system, the report said.

Mr Lavrov's visit will follow Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to New Delhi Friday to discuss Russia's war in Ukraine as well as their own two-year-old border standoff.

India is also under pressure from its fellow members of the Quad grouping, which includes the United States, Australia and Japan, to take a stronger stand against Russia as the US and its allies try to isolate and punish Moscow.

China and India haven't condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The two nations are expected to participate in the BRICS summit, which includes Russia, Brazil and South Africa, scheduled in China. No dates have been set for that meeting yet.

India's Ministry of External Affairs didn't immediately reply to text messages seeking confirmation of Mr Lavrov's visit.

India is not averse to buying discounted Russian oil and the government has informed Parliament that it is examining offers to buy cheap crude while an inter-ministerial committee is working on an alternate payment system.

Indian central bank officials and their Russian counterparts are meeting ahead of Mr Lavrov's visit , the news report said, adding that New Delhi, the largest buyer of Russian military hardware, will be seeking clarification from Moscow on delivery dates for weapon systems in the pipeline.

Last year, India and Russia had agreed to manufacture AK-203 rifles in India and India has bought the S-400 missile defence shield from Russia.

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