Russia, India agreed to go ahead with trade in national currency: Russian diplomat

Russia’s friendship with China should not be a cause of concern for India, says Roman Babushkin, Chargé d’Affaires of the Russian Embassy

Updated - July 11, 2024 10:43 am IST

Published - July 11, 2024 12:18 am IST - NEW DELHI

Roman Babushkin, Chargé d’Affaires of the Russian Embassy.

Roman Babushkin, Chargé d’Affaires of the Russian Embassy. | Photo Credit: Mahinsha S.

India and Russia have decided to establish a system for national currency settlement, Roman Babushkin, Chargé d’Affaires of the Russian Embassy, said on Wednesday.

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi ended his two-day visit to Russia, Mr. Babushkin described the visit as “historic and game-changing”, and slammed the Western powers for supporting Ukraine.

He described the recently concluded peace conference in Switzerland as a tamasha (charade). He said that Russia’s friendship with China should not be a cause of concern for India.

Economic aspects

“Russia is the fourth largest trading partner of India and we have a very optimistic scenario that we will continue our successful and mutually beneficial partnership with India. The most important point of the Joint Statement was that we have decided to go ahead with the establishment of the national currencies settlement system,” Mr. Babushkin said, presenting an overview of the discussion between the Indian and Russian delegations in Moscow during the visit of Mr. Modi.

Mr. Modi visited Moscow on July 8 and 9 and held both delegation-level talks as well as one-on-one discussions with President Vladimir Putin. Mr. Babushkin said the discussions were focused on economic aspects as Russia’s trade with India has grown many times in the past two years especially because of the trade in energy that rapidly expanded after Western sanctions were imposed on Russia following the launch of the “special military operation” against Ukraine in February 2022.

Also read | Energy is vital pillar of cooperation: PM after exhibition visit in Moscow

The two leaders also discussed the issue of Indian nationals who were fraudulently inducted into the Russian fighting forces and deployed for action on the Russia-Ukraine border.

Echoing Moscow’s assurance, Mr. Babushkin said that the Indian men would be sent back “soon”, but he argued that Russia did not want Indians to be part of the Russian forces. “Let us be very clear, we have never wanted Indians to be part of the Russian Army. You would never see any announcement by Russian authorities on this,” he said.

Also read | We have never wanted Indians to be part of the Russian Army: Russia’s Charge d’affaires

Peace in Ukraine

Mr. Babushkin described the meeting between Mr. Modi and Mr. Putin as a global event that indicated the changes that are currently under way in the international sphere. He said the meeting between the two leaders was “watched by the whole world” and described Russia as a country that was seeking peace in the Ukraine theatre.

He said Moscow had sent representatives to “all the conversations that took place” regarding Ukraine barring the one in Switzerland.

Mr. Babushkin said peace in Ukraine was not possible without including the Russian formula into the final draft. The Russian formula, he argued, wanted Ukraine to remain neutral and non-aligned and that Kyiv had to commit for non-deployment of foreign weapons on Ukrainian territory.

Mr. Babushkin also argued that Ukraine should get rid of the neo-Nazi ideology that he described as the currently dominant force in Ukraine.

He came down heavily on the Western powers for the support that they have been extending to Ukraine since the beginning of the war in February 2022. Away from the West-dominated world system, a new system was emerging where “new independent centres of power like India and Russia” were acquiring prominence, said the senior Russian diplomat.

He said that Russia’s friendly ties with China was part of the Russian policy to serve its national interests and added the West had been urging the international community to de-couple from Chinese products and services while actually purchasing Chinese products.

Taliban help

The diplomat said Russia was of the opinion that the Taliban were not keen to expand their ideology beyond the Afghan borders. “The Taliban came to power almost three years ago. From this perspective it becomes clear that they see themselves as a national force. They don’t want to expand their ideology,” said Mr. Babushkin, who observed that the Taliban were keen to reach out to other stakeholders in the international domain.

He pointed at the Islamic State-Khorasan Province and other terrorist groups that are supported by “external players” as the more potent threats that can be dealt with the help from the Taliban.

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