Days after India expressed concern about Russia-Pakistan military cooperation, the Indian envoy to Moscow on Friday said New Delhi is “confident” that Russia will “reflect” on its concerns. This set the stage for a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russian government sources told The Indian Express that Moscow will assuage Delhi’s concerns on the issue and Putin is likely to reiterate his commitment that Russia will not let “such episodes” impact its relations with India.
On Russia’s recent military exercise with Pakistan, Pankaj Saran, the Indian envoy to Moscow, said, “We have conveyed our concerns and views. We are confident that Russia will reflect on our concern. That is where we stand.”
Putin, who lands in Goa at 1 am on Saturday, will meet Modi for bilateral meetings between 11 am and 1 pm on Saturday. The two countries are looking at strengthening their “special and privileged partnership” by inking pacts in areas of defence and nuclear energy.
In an interview to the Russian news agency Ria Novosti, Saran had conveyed the Indian opposition to Russia’s joint military exercise with Pakistan, a state that “sponsors and practices terrorism as state policy”, and that the move will create problems. On Friday, Saran said terrorism was an important issue and will be discussed between the two leaders.
Sources said India also hopes to see Russia scale down its military cooperation with Pakistan. “We feel that Russia has understood our concerns, and going forward, there will be some action (scaling down),” sources said when asked if the exercise was a one-off episode and whether Russia had registered India’s concerns. The two sides are looking at inking more than a dozen pacts, including in the area of civil nuclear cooperation.
The Ministry of External Affairs’ joint secretary and in charge of Russia, G V Srinivas, said, “The bilateral partnership covers the widest possible areas of cooperation which will also be on display tomorrow.”