Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Russia To Continue Backing India On Kashmir Issue; Rules Out Military Ties With China — Reports

Russia has reportedly assured that it will continue to support India’s stand on Kashmir and Pakistan-related issues. Moscow has also ruled out any military alliance with China, according to The Economic Times.

These were the key takeaways from the meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar on Tuesday. The discussion covered a wide range of topics – from cooperation on nuclear energy and space to the production of Russian weapons in India.

Despite threats of US sanctions, India is going ahead with its S-400 deal with its old friend Russia.

Lavrov said he did not discuss the issue of US pressure or sanctions on the sale of the S-400 system to India, adding that if Washington puts pressure on any country, there will be a reciprocal reaction, according to ANI.

Both sides were quick to underplay the implications of the future delivery of the Russian S-400 weapons system to India. Under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017, any nation engaged in procuring Russian defense systems can be sanctioned by the US.

The US feels threatened by the S-400 missile, suspecting that it could be modified to intercept American fighter jets, including its “most advanced” F-35 stealth fighter jets.

The Russian S-400 missile is considered the most lethal air defense system in the world, with the capability of bringing down advanced stealth fighters.

“It wasn’t me who said the US exercised pressure on India but any other country which wanted to sign an agreement with Russia on the delivery of weapons… If the US says this overtly, we all will know, but we also know the reciprocal reaction,” Lavrov told reporters.

“With India, we do not discuss these statements by the US. Instead, we confirmed that we are going into diplomatic military cooperation. We have an intergovernmental committee. The military-technical cooperation has its own plan. We also discussed additional manufacturing of the Russian military equipment in India within the concept of made in India and in the concept of independent India. So here I don’t hear any fluctuations or changes from our Indian partners and friends,” he added.

Lavrov’s statement on China assumes significance in the wake of the India-China border conflict. The two Asian neighbors disengaged their troops from a disputed border area in eastern Ladakh in February, after a 10-moth-long military standoff.

Besides, Russia’s commitment to supporting India’s stand on Kashmir is seen as a blow to Pakistan, which continues to rake up the issue to gain international attention.

Islamabad has recently deferred its decision to resume trade ties with India demanding that India first reinstate Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

New Delhi had in August 2019 abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories.

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