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India to raise concerns over Russia, Pak military ties

Shiva mahesh

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will tell Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday to “reflect upon” New Delhi’s concerns over Russia’s growing military ties with Pakistan.

Modi and Putin will hold the 17th India-Russia summit in Goa on Saturday.

Though the meeting between the two leaders is expected to be followed by several big-ticket defence deals, New Delhi is also likely to use the opportunity to strongly convey India’s concerns over the growing military ties between Russia and Pakistan.

The prime minister will convey to the Russian president his government’s concerns over the implication of Russia-Pakistan defence relations on the security interests of India

“We are confident that Russia will reflect upon our concerns (over Russia-Pakistan defence cooperation),” Pankaj Saran, New Delhi’s envoy to Moscow, told journalists on Friday. He made the remark even as New Delhi and Moscow are set to sign deals for manufacturing of Russia’s Kamov-226T military helicopters in India on Saturday

Saran said the meeting between Modi and Putin would give a fillip to bilateral cooperation in sectors like hydrocarbon and nuclear energy, agriculture and infrastructure, particularly railways

What particularly set the alarm bells ringing in New Delhi was the joint anti-terror military drill that soldiers of Russia and Pakistan held at Cherat in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in the neighbouring country from September 24 to October 10.

This was the first ever military exercise between Pakistan and Russia, which has been maintaining a robust defence partnership with India over the past several decades

Modi is likely to convey to Putin that while New Delhi had nothing to say about bilateral ties between two other nations, it would definitely expect that Russia would not be oblivious of its decades-old and time-tested relations with India and legitimate security interests of the latter in the region, sources told the DH

New Delhi is likely to nudge Moscow not to turn Russia’s military exercise with Pakistan into a regular feature in the coming years

The Russia-Pakistan military drill came just days after the deadly terror attack on an army camp at Uri in north Kashmir on September 18 took the New Delhi’s troubled ties with Islamabad to a new low

The attack was carried out by the terrorists who had sneaked into India from the areas under illegal occupation and control of Pakistan. Altogether 19 soldiers were killed in the attack

Moscow, however, was not only quick to condemn the attack, but was also first to endorse India’s assertion that the terrorists had come from areas under the control of Pakistan

Russia did not call off its military drill with Pakistan after the attack on the army camp, but clarified that it would not be held in disputed areas India accuses Pakistan of illegally occupying in Kashmir

Russia has since long been the largest supplier of military hardware to India and has been maintaining its defence cooperation with Pakistan at a low level. Moscow, however, in November 2015 signed a military cooperation agreement with Islamabad – apparently in reaction to India’s move to enter into closer defence ties with the United States

The first Russia-Pakistan military drill too came just weeks after India signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement with the United States. Moscow and Islamabad are also discussing supply of Russian MI-35 attack helicopters to India

India to raise concerns over Russia, Pak military ties
 
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