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Alexei Navalny death: What's India's stand? BJP spox Jaiveer Shergill's reply to foreign reporter

Feb 18, 2024 03:30 PM IST

Alexei Navalny death: On the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, Jaiveer Shergill said India is standing by its close relationship with Russia.

Bharatiya Janata Party national spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said India's relationship with Russia is based on friendship, and Moscow was, is and will remain a strong friend and ally of New Delhi, amid the sharp reactions from Western countries over the death of Russia's opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (HT PHOTO)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (HT PHOTO)

Speaking to DW on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, Jaiveer Shergill said India is standing by its close relationship with Russia - refusing to join the widespread condemnation of the death of Alexei Navalny – adding that India is “on the side of peace".

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Jaiveer Shergill was asked by the German public broadcaster over India’s close ties with Moscow, in light of the death of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s jailed critic.

“The news that has really been shaking the event here today is the death of Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader,” the DW reporter asked Jaiveer Shergill.

“India has maintained good relations with Russia for decades and also through the war the last couple of years. When something like this happens, what goes through your mind and what are the kind of calculations in Delhi, is this Russia that you want to be doing business with?” the reporter asked.

To this, Jaiveer Shergill replied, “Russia I will reiterate India's stand. Russia was, is and will remain India's strong friend and ally. As a nation, Russia has supported India and India, in turn, has supported Russia. India has also been very clear vocal in the G20 declaration and before that at every summit. India has on the side of the peace; India does not support any form of violence. India does not support any form of terrorism when you talk about any particular incident. New Delhi believes in the resolution on any form of dispute and upholding the rule of law.”

The BJP spokesperson said India's foreign policy is very specific – India is on the side of peace and it is not on the side of war. “Any party is on the side of war, any party is on perpetual violence, India does not stand but as far as Russia and Ukraine are concerned, the G20 declaration which had unanimity amongst all the member nations, it said that Russia and Ukraine should come to a unanimous solution,” Jaiveer Shergill added.

When asked what Prime Minister Narendra Modi meant by his famous “this not an era of war” statement amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict more than a year ago, the BJP leader said, “…look, it is beyond India's control if any particular situation is still existing - point one. Point two, what Narendra Modi meant was violence is not a solution today. Our G20 theme was ‘one earth, one family and one future’. Today is the era, the decade of capitalising on innovation, capitalising on progress, fighting climate change and not to pick up guns and pointing them towards each other.”

Here's the full interview:

Alexei Navalny's death provokes Western outrage

As outrage over the death of Alexei Navalny reverberates across the world. The US and its allies are pondering new sanctions against Russia over Navalny’s death and the Kremlin’s recent actions in Ukraine.

Navalny, who died at age 47, emerged as a major threat more than a decade ago, playing a key role in galvanising massive street protests against Russian President Vladimir Putin's rule in Moscow in 2011-2012 and running a successful campaign to expose government corruption.

While Putin didn’t comment on Navalny’s death, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed statements by Western leaders holding the Kremlin responsible as “outrageous and inadmissible.”

S Jaishankar on India-Russia relations

Earlier, responding to a question on India's continuing procurement of crude oil from Russia notwithstanding Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, external affairs minister S Jaishankar, on the sidelines of the Munich meeting, said “Why should it be a problem? I am smart enough to have multiple options. You should be admiring and not criticising. Is it a problem for others? I do not think so.”

In that context, S Jaishankar explained different pulls and pressures countries face, adding that different nations have different histories and challenges and it is very hard to have an unidimensional relationship.

"I do not want you, even inadvertently, to give the impression that we are purely and unsentimentally transactional. We are not. We get along with people, we believe in things, we share things, ...but there are times when you are located in different places, different levels of development, different experiences, all of that gets into it," he explained.

"So Life is complicated, life is differentiated," he said.

"Good partners provide choices, smart partners take some of those choices," Jaishankar said.

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    Have 11 years' experience in print and digital media. Write on politics, defence and world affairs, and have a keen eye for human-interest stories.

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