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Posted at: Apr 16, 2018, 10:24 PM; last updated: Apr 16, 2018, 10:24 PM (IST)

Russian envoy says Pak's credibility growing, bats for China's BRI

Russian envoy says Pak's credibility growing, bats for China's BRI
Nikolay Kudashev

Smita Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 16

Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev on Monday defended his country's growing relationship with Pakistan even as he called ties with India 'durable and multi pronged'.

Delivering a special address at the Ananta Aspen Centre in Delhi, Kudashev stressed that the Afghanistan situation cannot be addressed without taking onboard every neighbouring country.

"This logic also guides us towards further developing relations with Pakistan, which is, on the other hand, Russia's historic and important regional partner as well. These ties are not emanating from the regional balance of power equations, but growing on their own merits," said Kudashev.

Later in response to a question, he further claimed that Pakistan's credibility is growing since its full membership of SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) and after taking "strong measures to counter financing of terror".

Interestingly, Kudashev also underlined that Russia does not look at countries through lens of bilateral disputes where it cannot take sides. "We are open for contacts with every country, especially if it would help to ensure the regional stability, which, on the other hand, also remains largely dependent on constructive relationship between New Delhi and Islamabad. No doubt, that existing disagreements between India and Pakistan should be resolved politically and diplomatically, according to the provisions of the 1972 Shimla Agreement and the 1999 Lahore Declaration. We believe in dialogue, and stand ready to support it, if requested by both sides," added the Ambassador.

Kudashev also called for a creative thinking on Chinese BRI (Belt and Roads Initiative) to which India objects to, as it has CPEC (China Pak Economic Corridor) as a flagship project. "Russia is ready to cooperate on BRI, which involves almost all the countries in the SCO region," said Kudashev adding that Russia sees this project purely from the economic perspective.

On defence ties with India, the envoy hoped for greater military collaboration. Asked about delays in agreements on S-400 air defence missile systems andco-production of  Kamov-226 T helicopters, Kudashev hoped they would be inked by the time President Vladimir Putin visits India for the summit meeting in October this year. 

He also dismissed suggestions that Delhi's close ties to DC and the tense standoff between US and Moscow could impact Indo-Russian defence ties. "Our military relationship with India is an independent relationship that is not affected by any American strategic calculations," stressed Kudashev. 

Hitting out at the United States, UK and Europe, the Ambassador claimed that recent air strikes in Syria was "taken under an absolutely contrived pretext of the alleged use of chemical weapons" by the Syrian government in the city of Douma on April 7.

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