Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale paid a quiet visit to Moscow this week during which he held talks with key Russian ministers on the bilateral agenda as well as global developments.

During the working visit, Gokhale met Russia’s Deputy Foreign Ministers Sergey Ryabkov and Igor Morgulov. The two sides discussed issues like multilateral export control regimes, including the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG), cooperation in the BRICS framework and other issues of mutual interest, an informed source said.

Gokhale’s visit is being seen as a follow-up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s informal summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin at Sochi in Russia in May. The two leaders will hold their annual formal summit towards the end of the year.

The visit comes even as India and Russia seek to find ways to circumvent US imposed sanctions on Moscow under CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) which could have a bearing on the defence partnership between the two countries.

India and Russia are also said to be going ahead with discussions on the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) project despite reports suggesting India had developed cold feet on the project.

India and Russia are also believed to be in constant touch over the situation in Afghanistan. Gokhale’s visit took place days before Moscow hosts a peace conference on Afghanistan on 4 September. India is among the 12 nations invited to the conference apart from China, Pakistan and Iran.

The Ashraf Ghani regime in Afghanistan has decided to stay away from the conference protesting against Moscow’s decision to invite the Taliban to the meet. The US too will not participate in it.