REUTERS

Ambassador of Ukraine Dr. Igor Polikha told The Hindu that in a symbolic gesture, First Deputy Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv will participate in the Republic day celebrations to mark the beginning of a new phase of India-Ukraine ties after a gap of several years caused by Ukraine's war with Russia over Crimea.

"We expect Mr. Kubiv's visit to produce a new industrial and economic agenda which we will take forward in the inter-governmental commission meeting in April," said Mr. Polikha.

Read alsoUkraine's Vice PM: economy out of shadows at record paceTies between India and Ukraine began warming up last year with the discussion between Ukrainian diplomats and MEA's Secretary in charge of Western hemisphere, Sujata Mehta. Subsequently, the Minister for Heavy Industries Anant Geete visited Ukraine in November 2016. Mr. Kubiv's visit is being viewed as a reciprocal gesture by Ukraine.

The inter-governmental commission will be co-chaired by Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar and the Ukrainian foreign minister Pavlo Klimkin.

Mr. Geete had taken along representatives of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited and several other major public sector companies during his last visit that are expected to be in focus during the visit of Mr. Kubiv.

During his visit, Mr. Kubiv who will be accompanied by five senior diplomats from the Ukrainian government will hold a bilateral meeting with Mr. Akbar. He is likely to meet Minister of Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman, and several other ministers, before flying to Vishakhapatnam to participate in the Partnership Summit 2017.

The visit from Ukraine is significant as the last major visit from Ukraine was by President Viktor Yanukovych who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2012 in Delhi.

The visit could not produce forward movement as Ukraine was drawn to a broader conflict with Russia soon thereafter.

Indian sources, however, pointed out that the visit is a sign of India's diplomatic continuity. Mr. Polikha said that Ukraine is hopeful of continuing with bilateral exchanges. "We hope to host the Indian president sometime this year," he said.