Russia, after slamming the ‘Indo-Pacific strategy by Western countries and promising Pakistan military assistance, tried doing a balancing act on Wednesday when it called India a “trusted partner”. Moscow said that there were no divergences or misunderstandings between the two countries and that it has “limited cooperation” with Islamabad based on “independent” relations.
Deputy Chief of the Russian mission Roman Babushkin also welcomed the recent commitment by India and Pakistan to follow the 2003 ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC0 and said these are “very important steps” for regional stability.
At a joint media briefing with Babushkin, Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev criticised the Indo-Pacific strategy by Western countries, describing it as “dangerous” and an effort to revive the cold war mentality. Babushkin said that India must be part of the process of shaping regional consensus on Afghanistan and that New Delhi and Moscow have similar approaches for the Afghan peace process.
Asked about Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov travelling to Islamabad after visiting New Delhi, Mr Babushkin said, “Russia has independent ties with Pakistan and that it does not target any relations against anyone… We believe that there is absolutely no reason to see that there are divergences or any misunderstandings between us. It is not the case in Russia-India ties.”
Kudashev said India is a trusted partner of Russia and ties between the two countries were “equal, solid, comprehensive, coherent and forward-looking”. He also mentioned that the visit by Lavrov to India on 6 April contributed a lot to the ties. “It was a very important and remarkable event, which contributed a lot to the special and privileged strategic partnership between our two friendly nations. Our ties remain equal, solid, comprehensive, coherent and forward-looking despite any global turbulence,” he said.
The Ambassador said that the visit was aimed at preparations for the India-Russia summit which is expected to take place in the second half of the year.
Babushkin said that Russia has independent relations with India, Pakistan and other countries and the relations are based on their own merits. “We are all members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and develop cooperation in various fields including regional security, fight against terrorism and to deal with other threats,” he said.
“Russia has limited cooperation with Pakistan as compared to India. However, the fight against terrorism is our common agenda. So we also help Pakistan in providing anti-terrorism equipment and holding dedicated exercise,” he added.
Lavrov, after his India visit, travelled to Islamabad on Tuesday where he said that Russia was ready to supply special military equipment to Pakistan to boost its counter-terror capabilities.