AK Doval and his Russian counterpart are expected to discuss ways to deepen defence partnership ahead of the Russian defence minister’s visit to India next week

NEW DELHI: The national security advisers (NSAs) of India and Russia will meet in Delhi on Friday to explore joint projects in Afghanistan and firm up counter terrorism partnership amid increasing threat from radical groups in the landlocked country and other volatile regions across the world.

AK Doval and his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev are also expected to discuss ways to deepen defence partnership ahead of the Russian defence minister’s visit to India next week, said people aware of the matter.

Also on the agenda is growing partnership in the Indo-Pacific region (Russian government refers to Indo-Pacific as Asia-Pacific), said one of the persons, who did not wish to be identified. The two sides have been engaged in bilateral dialogue on the Indo-Pacific region over the past year.

India and Russia have agreed to converge their efforts to eradicate terrorist networks and their sources of financing, arms and fighters’ supply channels, to counter terrorist ideology, propaganda and recruitment, said the person.

At the annual India-Russia summit held in Delhi on October 5, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin had decided to launch joint projects in Afghanistan. Following this, India for the first attended talks on Afghanistan in the presence of Taliban representatives at “non-official” level.

“The sides declared their support to Afghan government’s efforts towards the realisation of an Afghan-led, and Afghan-owned national peace reconciliation process. Concerned with the unabated violence and severely undermined security situation in Afghanistan and its adverse effect on the region, the sides resolved to work through the Moscow Format, SCO Contact Group on Afghanistan, and all other recognise formats for an early resolution to the long-term conflict in Afghanistan, end to terrorist violence, external safe havens and sanctuaries for terrorists and the worsening drug problem in the country,” said the joint statement issued after the summit.

The statement further said, “Both sides called upon the international community to join efforts to thwart any external interference in Afghanistan, to restore its economy, contribute to sustaining peace and security, economic and political development of a stable, secure, united, prosperous and independent Afghanistan. The two sides will direct their activity to launch joint development and capacity building projects in Afghanistan.”

The upcoming meeting of the NSAs will be the second since September. Doval and Patrushev had last met in Tehran on the sidelines of a meeting of the NSAs of India, Russia, Iran and Afghanistan.