India has told Russia its military cooperation with Pakistan, a “state that sponsors terrorism”, is a wrong approach and it would create further problems.
“We have conveyed our views to the Russian side that military cooperation with Pakistan which is a state that sponsors and practices terrorism as a matter of state policy is a wrong approach and it will only create further problems,” Indian envoy to Russia, Pankaj Saran, told Russian news agency Ria Novosti in an interview.
The envoy’s remarks, the strongest public comments by an Indian official on the first-ever Russia-Pakistan joint military exercise in September, came ahead of an annual bilateral summit between President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 15.
Modi is likely to discuss cross-border terrorism in the region with Putin.
India was not happy with Russia’s military exercise with Pakistan, which is viewed as shifting of stands between the former Cold War-era rivals, Moscow and Islamabad.
Also, this happened at a time India-Pakistan relations are on the rocks after the Uri army base attack on September 18 in which militants from across the border killed 18 soldiers.
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, the de facto border with Pakistan, 11 days after the Uri attack.
Saran said India enjoys a special and privileged strategic partnership with Russia.
“We see no change in this. On the contrary, this has only strengthened in all areas, including in the field of military technical cooperation.”
Russia was the only country to say in plain words that terrorists came from Pakistan, Russian ambassador to India, Alexander M Kadakin, said last week and asked Islamabad to put an end to cross-border terrorism.
“Greatest human rights violations take place when terrorists attack military installations and attack peaceful civilians in India. We welcome the surgical strike. Every country has right to defend itself,” he said.
Saran called India-Russia partnership as an “anchor of peace and stability in the region and the world”.
He said India will continue to have military exercises with Russia.
“We have a regular system of military exercises with Russia. We have been holding these exercises for the past few years with Russia.”