India's Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said that Indo-Russia ties are "very strong, very steady" at a press conference in Moscow on Dec. 27, cited by the Telegraph India.
Jaishankar is in the midst of a five-day trip to Russia, where he met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russian leader Vladimir Putin will meet with Jaishankar later on Dec. 27. Putin is also expected to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi next year.
Following the meeting, Lavrov said that Russia and India had made progress in talks on the joint production of military equipment, which he said would mutually benefit both countries and increase security in Eurasia.
India has become a critical market for Russian oil amid intensifying Western sanctions. It is now the largest buyer of Russian seaborne crude, though sanctions present logistical difficulties in coordinating shipments.
India and Russia have long had close ties. The Soviet Union was a critical supplier of military equipment to India as it faced off with its primary foe, Pakistan, which was backed by the U.S.
Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, India has largely maintained a neutral stance, declining to condemn Moscow's military aggression or join the West in isolating Russia.
"The time-tested India-Russia partnership has remained stable and resilient and continues to be characterized by the spirit of the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership," India's Foreign Ministry said in a statement released before Jaishankar's visit.
As India's international stature and power grows, it has increasingly embraced the concept of a multipolar world, in which it may pursue its own foreign policy independent of the West.
Ahead of the meeting, Jaishankar said that he and Lavrov would likely discuss the "building of a multipolar world order," the New York Times reported, citing a Russian video broadcast.
The U.S. has largely refrained from pressuring India to join the West's isolation of Russia, in part because it also sees India as a potential partner to counter China, which has tense relations with India.
Many in the U.S., especially in the Republican party, see China as a greater geopolitical threat than Russia.