Describing India as one of the ‘closest friends’ of his country, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said that the ‘trust-based’ relation between the countries will not be diluted by Moscow’s growing bilateral relationship with Pakistan and other countries, reported news agency PTI. Putin’s remarks came in the wake of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to St Petersburg to attend the 18th India-Russia annual Summit.
“We do not have any tight (military) relations with Pakistan. And for sure our relations with Pakistan have no impact on trade between India and Russia,” he said. When asked about the disputed region of Kashmir, he said ‘it is up to you’ to assess whether Pakistan is funding terrorism in India. “But no matter where the threat comes, it is unacceptable and we will always support India in its fight against terrorism,” he added.
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Interacting with the media at Konstantin Palace, he added that it was ‘ridiculous’ to believe that Russia’s relationship with India, should restrict the latter from partnering other countries.
“India is a huge country of more than 1 billion population. Russia is also a huge country. Both Russia and India have a lot of context and mutual interests. We are respectful toward all Indian interests,” the 64-year-old said. The two leaders, who held talks on wide-ranging issues, including ways to boost energy and trade ties, are expected to sign 12 agreements in various sectors like science and technology, railways and cultural exchanges. They are also likely to ink a deal on India’s largest nuclear power plant in Kudankulam, apart from releasing a vision statement.
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Following their bilateral talks, Modi had tweeted saying the two had a ‘wonderful’ meeting.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 1, 2017
Modi is on a four-nation tour. After visiting Germany and Spain earlier this week, he travelled to Russia. From here, he is expected to visit France, and meet its newly-elected President Emmanuel Macron.
(With inputs from PTI)