Russia urges India to fight IS

Russia urges India to fight IS

Russia urges India to fight IS
Moscow wants New Delhi to do more than giving moral support to its air-strikes on Islamic State militants in Syria and may discuss possibilities of “joint actions” by Russia and India to curb the growing terror outfits, particularly in Afghanistan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday will focus on strengthening bilateral cooperation in combating international terrorism. Putin is likely to brief Modi about Russian air-strikes on IS facilities in Syria. The two leaders are likely to discuss ways to prevent IS spreading its tentacles in Afghanistan-Pakistan region and rest of Central and South Asia.

Modi is likely to visit Kabul while returning from Moscow on Friday. He will inaugurate the new Afghan Parliament complex India built in Kabul as a mark of its support to democracy in the war-ravaged country. The visit will send out a strong signal about India’s resolve to continue its support to Afghanistan, particularly in augmenting capability of Afghan National Army and other armed forces to fight Taliban and IS.

Officials told Deccan Herald that Moscow was very keen to include in the agenda of Putin-Modi meeting discussions about possibilities of “joint actions” and “creation of broad counterterrorism coalition” to fight the IS menace.

Top Russian officials involved with preparations for Modi-Putin summit said that while Taliban was perceived as “an exclusively domestic phenomenon for Afghanistan”, the IS was the opposite. The IS was more radical than Taliban and had global ambitions, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told Prime Minister’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval during a visit to New Delhi earlier this month.

Moscow is understood to have shared with New Delhi its own assessment about the IS footprint in Afghanistan. Its estimate about the IS strength in Afghanistan stands at about 3,500-4,000 fighters.

India, however, is likely to take a cautious approach and may not commit to “joint actions” with Russia against the IS in Afghanistan, at least not overtly. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar recently stated that India would stick to its policy of not joining any military offensive in a foreign land, unless the operation was mandated by United Nations.
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