India has conveyed its opposition to Russia over the recent joint military exercise it recently conducted with Pakistan, saying that it will create problems.
Indian ambassador to Moscow Pankaj Saran said in an interview to Russian news agency Ria Novosti, that the military cooperation with a State that sponsors and practises terrorism as a matter of State policy is a wrong approach.
Saran’s remarks come ahead of the bilateral meeting in Goa on October 15 between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who will be arriving in India on October 14.
On India-Russia relationship, the envoy said the partnership between the two countries is an anchor of peace and stability in the region and the world. He said the two countries share a special and privileged strategic partnership.
Notably, Russia was the only P5 country — one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — to support India’s surgical strikes on militant hideouts across the Line of Control. Russia was the only country to say in plain words that terrorists came from Pakistan.
Earlier, a senior Russian diplomat said that India need not worry about the Russia-Pakistan joint military exercises as these drills will not be carried out in disputed areas.
The joint military exercises, dubbed as ‘Friendship-2016’, were tactical drills held from September 24 to October 7 in the Army High Altitude School in northern Pakistan’s Rattu and at a special forces training center in Cherat area.
The move comes amidst increasing defence ties between Moscow and Islamabad. Pakistan is also considering to buy advanced Russian warplanes. After finalising a deal of MI-35 helicopters, it is also looking to purchase Su-35 fighter jets from Russia, Pakistani media reported.
Russia’s recent engagement with Pakistan may come as a surprise to many, but it may be the result of changing geopolitical equations at the global and regional level. It must be noted that Russia and Pakistan are moving away from the U.S. as their differences with Washington have widened. The U.S. Congress has earlier decided not to subsidize Pakistan’s purchase of eight F-16 fighter jets from Washington, which may have prompted Islamabad to question American intentions.
At the same time, India signing the logistics exchange memorandum with the U.S. could have ‘irritated’ China and even Russia, with some experts arguing that India is giving up its policy of nonalignment and moving closer to the U.S.