India should not be worried about our ties with Pakistan: Russia

Pakistan and Russia have been holding military drills for last few years in the counter terrorism domain
Last Updated 21 December 2020, 13:48 IST

Russia on Monday said India should not be worried about its relationship with Pakistan but noted that Moscow is committed to develop ties with Islamabad as it is a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

Deputy Chief of the Russian mission Roman Babushkin said Russia's ties with Pakistan are "independent" in nature and that his government is mindful of respecting sensitivities of other countries.

"We do not think India should be worried," he said at a media briefing when asked about Russia's military drills with Pakistan as well as trade cooperation.

"Russia is very cautious when it comes to respecting the sensitivities. But at the same time we regard our relationship with Pakistan as independent in nature and we also have bilateral trade and economic agenda. We are quite committed to develop this relationship further including from the point of view of Pakistan being a partner country in the framework of the SCO," Babushkin said.

He said the basic principle of Russian foreign policy is to have bilateral relations that are not aimed against any other country.

"This is the very important principle we are following when it comes to cooperation with every country in the world including Pakistan and many others," he said.

The Russian diplomat also mentioned increasing defence and security ties between India and Russia and even referred to the extensive military exercises between the two countries and the cooperation between them which are contributing to regional stability.

Babushkin said the military drills with Pakistan were part of the counter-terror framework and such collaborations including experience sharing and capacity building is natural for all the SCO member states.

The SCO is an eight-nation bloc which is largely dominated by Russia and China, and is being increasingly seen as a counterweight to NATO. India and Pakistan became permanent members of the SCO in 2017.

In the briefing, Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev mentioned the various facets of India-Russia ties and noted that the special and privileged strategic partnership meant that relations between the two countries are "limitless, and they remain trusted, strong and coherent despite the current global turbulence".

On Russia's ties with Pakistan, Kudashev said its substance corresponds to issues like regional stability, fighting terrorism and the menace of drugs.

"Naturally, economic cooperation is a key to the progress and predictability here," he said in the joint media briefing with Babushkin.

Pakistan and Russia have been holding military drills for last few years in the counter terrorism domain.

The two sides are also attempting to expand ties in the domain of trade and have finalised a gas pipeline project.

(Published 21 December 2020, 13:37 IST)

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