November 1, 2017 8:17:27 pm
Russia’s partnership with India is “second to none” and cannot be compared with its relationship with Pakistan, Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev said Wednesday. The purpose of last month’s military drill with Pakistan was counter-terror cooperation, he said. “Our partnership with India is second to none while we have a normal inter-state relationship with Pakistan,” he told reporters during a media briefing on the recently concluded tri-services exercise between Russia and India in Vladivostok.
To a question on Russia’s two-week military drill with Pakistan near the Russian town of Minralney Vody, he said there was no comparison between ties with India and Pakistan. Russia favours “space” for all stakeholders in the region, he said when asked about a possible quadrilateral involving India, Japan, the US and Australia for deeper cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
There should “open cooperation” among all countries, he added. Pressed further, Kudashev underlined the need for a non- bloc regional architecture. The US has been pressing for strengthening Indo-US cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono said last week that Tokyo favours a dialogue between Japan, the US, India and Australia to further boost strategic partnership.
Asked about China’s indication that it may once again block the US, France and UK’s bid to list Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief and Pathankot terror attack mastermind Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, he evaded a direct reply. “We are members of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) where there is ample agenda to fight terrorism,” he said.
The envoy also spoke about the tri-services exercise between India and Russia from October 19 to 29. More than 900 soldiers, sailors and air warriors participated in the exercise along with over 1,000 personnel from the Russian defence forces. A senior official said no decision has been taken on whether the tri-services exercise will be an annual feature.
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