Russia-Pakistan ties in India’s long-term interest: Putin

Russia’s cooperation with Pakistan will serve the “long-term” interests of India, says Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is set to land here on Wednesday for the annual India-Russia summit.

Responding to questions submitted by The Hindu, Mr. Putin also said the scope of the agreement signed last month, which was the first of its kind between Russia and Pakistan, is limited. “[Regarding] Pakistan, we have held talks on Russia’s possible assistance aimed at improving the counter-terrorism and anti-drug operations. In my view, this kind of cooperation serves the long-term interests of all countries of the region, including India,” he said.

Brushing aside concerns that the cooperation would lead to a shift in India-Russia ties, or that India’s growing military closeness to the U.S. was “transforming” bilateral ties, he replied: “If some transformations take place, it would be a completely different kind of transformation. The high level of bilateral cooperation and trust allows us to start a gradual transition from the traditional producer-consumer model to joint development and production of advanced weapons systems,” he added, referring to the co-developed Brahmos missile as well as the fifth-generation fighter aircraft.

Also read: >Transcript of Vladimir Putin's press conference

Mr. Putin, who will hold meetings on Thursday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will also meet President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice-President Hamid Ansari, hopes to see some “significant achievements” from these meetings. He listed nuclear energy cooperation as a “pillar of the India-Russia strategic partnership.” He hailed the Kudankulam plant built by Russia as the “world’s only nuclear power plant which meets all the “post-Fukushima” safety requirements.”

Site for nuclear plant

To a question by The Hindu on India’s liability laws creating “problems” for further nuclear plants, Mr. Putin said Russia could build at least 25 new units. He said a new vision document entitled, ‘Strategic Vision of the Strengthening Russian-Indian Cooperation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of the Atomic Energy’ would be signed during the visit. The Russian President said he “awaits” India’s decision on allotting the site for a new Russian-designed nuclear power plant as well.

‘Gas line unviable’

Responding to other questions submitted by Indian journalists on the energy partnership, Mr. Putin said Russia was looking to “diversify” its natural gas markets from Western countries to Asia. However, he said a pipeline to India, at the moment, was “commercially unviable”, but added that LNG transportation would continue. Russia hoped for more Indian investment in oil and gas exploration on the lines of ‘Sakhalin-1’ that has supplied more than one million tonnes of oil annually.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 11:44:32 PM |

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