– External Affairs Ministry Russia and Pakistan on Tuesday signed a contract on the admission of service members of Pakistan to the Russian Federation’s Military Training Institute. The agreement was viewed by many in India as an indication of Russia’s leaning towards India’s arch-rival Pakistan.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has denied having raised any concern over the recently signed defense agreement between Russia and Pakistan. The MEA, in its weekly briefing, said that India’s relationship with Russia is independent of each other’s relationship with other countries.
“After the informal summit at Sochi, the relationship has acquired new dimensions which have provided an opportunity to deepen our relationship further. Our relationship with Russia, which remains excellent, is independent of the relationship with any other country,” Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of India’s MEA, replied to a question whether the military training being imparted to Pakistani troops by Russia is a concern for New Delhi.
Deputy defense minister of the Russian Federation, Colonel-General Alexander V. Fomin, on a visit to Pakistan earlier this week, signed an agreement related to providing training assistance to Pakistani troops for the first time ever.
“The sides discussed in detail the whole spectrum of the Russia-Pakistan military cooperation including that interaction through branches and arms of the Russian Armed Forces. In particular, they highlighted the cooperation in military education,” a statement from the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation read.
Several Indian media outlets, as well as some former defense personnel, had raised concern terming the agreement as a sign of Russia’s growing coziness with India’s arch-rival Pakistan.
“Russia-Pak ties have been in the making since 2003; expected to achieve pace they signal India’s unreal policy of isolating Pak; if anything Pak has emerged as a major geopolitical player with India appearing isolated in neighbourhood and region,” Pravin Sawhney, ex-Indian Army and editor of FORCE newsmagazine on national security and defense, tweeted.
Nevertheless, the Indian government has emphatically stressed that India’s relationship with Russia has further deepened following the informal Sochi summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin.
“We have seen the media reports. Our relationship with Russia is a time-tested relationship. Russia is our privileged strategic partner. Our relation is based on equal trust and respect for each other’s core interest and sensitivities,” Raveesh Kumar added.
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