Updated: June 24, 2020 7:30:42 am
India has been assured by Russia that despite the pandemic it will deliver on all ongoing military contracts, and can even hasten the delivery in certain cases, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Moscow on Tuesday.
Singh, who is in the Russian capital to attend the 75th anniversary of the Victory Day celebration to mark the end of Second World War, said, “All our proposals have received positive response from the Russian side. I am fully satisfied with the discussions.”
China’s Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe is also in Moscow for the Victory Day event, but a Defence Ministry official said Singh will not hold any discussions with his Chinese counterpart.
During the discussions, Singh is learnt to have reiterated that India is a peace-loving country and has never looked at other people’s territory. He said, “We are for resolving all disputes by dialogue, (but) if there are any questions on India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, our resolve to protect or interest at any cost cannot be doubted.”
Making a statement after meeting Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov, Singh said that India and Russia share a special and privileged strategic partnership, and stressed that “our defence relationship is one of its important pillars”. The minister said he reviewed defence relationship between the two countries with Borisov, and the discussions were “very positive and productive”.
Singh said, “I have been assured that ongoing contracts will be maintained — (in fact) not just maintained, in a number of cases they will be taken forward in a shorter time.”
India had signed a contract worth over $5 billion in 2018 to buy five regiments of the S-400 Triumf missile system from Russia. Its delivery is expected to begin by the end of this year.
Singh said that he can state “with confidence” that the traditional friendship between India and Russia remain strong, and mutual interests of both nations are “solid”. “We look to future cooperation in the spirit of our special friendship,” he said.
Conveying his greetings on the occasion of the 75th Victory Day Parade, Singh said the people of Russia have contributed much to the two countries’ common security.
Pointing out that his trip is the first foreign visit from India of an official delegation after the coronavirus pandemic broke out, Singh said, this is a “sign of our special friendship”. He said India is looking forward to hosting Russia’s President Vladimir Putin later this year.
Earlier in the day, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar held discussions with Russia’s Deputy Defence Minister Col General Alexander Fomin on “bilateral defence cooperation issues and issues of regional development.”
Meanwhile, Russia on Tuesday ruled out mediating between India and China following the violent clashes in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, PTI reported from Moscow. Following a virtual conference with his Indian and Chinese counterparts, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, “I do not think India and China need any help, any kind of assistance specifically aimed at helping them to resolve disputes.”
“As soon as the border incidents took place, meetings were held and contact was established between the military command on the ground and the foreign ministers,” Sputnik News quoted Lavrov as saying. “As I understand, these contacts are ongoing…”
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