Ahead of their annual bilateral Summit, India has conveyed its opposition to Russia over its joint exercise with Pakistan, a nation which “sponsors and practices terrorism as a matter of State policy”, saying it will create further problems. “We have conveyed our views to the Russian side that military cooperation with Pakistan which is a State that sponsors and practices terrorism as a matter of State policy is a wrong approach and it will only create further problems,” Indian Ambassador to Moscow Pankaj Saran said in an interview to Russian news agency Ria Novosti.
Saran’s remarks come ahead of the bilateral meeting in Goa on Saturday between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who will be arriving in India on October 14. Apart from bilateral Summit, Putin will attend the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa(BRICS) meet on October 16. India has been communicating its unhappiness to Russia over its joint military exercises with Pakistan. However, these concerns have been played down by the Russians who maintain that they hold similar military drills with other countries of the region as well.
Saran also said, “There are some burning issues before the world today which the BRICS countries will certainly address and this includes the question of terrorism and the threat of terrorism faced by all the countries in the BRICS group. So this will be a major item of discussion during the Summit apart from the regional conflicts and the global situation.” On Indo-Russia ties, the envoy said as far as India’s relations with Russia are concerned, the two countries share a special and privileged strategic partnership.
“We see no change in this. On the contrary, this has only strengthened in all areas, including in the field of military-technical cooperation. This partnership is an anchor of peace and stability in the region and the world. “We have a regular system of military exercises with Russia. We have been holding these exercises for the last few years with Russia and we will continue to do so. The plan for these exercises is drawn up between the relevant agencies of the two sides. This will continue even next year,” he said. Saran also talked about the cooperation in the field of civil nuclear sector, trade and investments.
Russia had held first-ever joint military exercise with Pakistan in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa region in September. Saran said as far as nuclear cooperation was concerned, the ties were “historic”. “We have five other units for Kudankulam project. Unit-2 is in the process of achieving criticality and work on Units 3 and 4 is in the process of beginning. As far as Units 5 and 6 are concerned, we are working with the Russian side to finalise a General Framework Agreement and a Credit Protocol,” he said, hoping to conclude the negotiations to mutual benefit for the two countries. On commercial ties, he said the two sides were “actively” working to meet the bilateral trade target of USD 30 billion by 2025.