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Russia our time-tested friend : Indian Foreign Minister
May 31, 2015, 2:41 pm

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj (left) with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Beijing, China on 2nd February 2015 [Image: MEA, india]

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj (left) with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Beijing, China on 2nd February 2015 [Image: MEA, india]

New Delhi has relations of confidence with Russia, a long-time ally, reiterated Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday.

She was speaking on the achievements of the Indian government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has completed a year in power this month.

“Russia is our time-tested friend,” Swaraj told journalists in New Delhi.

Speaking on defense ties with Moscow, the Foreign Minister noted that the two sides will now engage in joint military production.

“Russia has decided to manufacture weapons in India and also to manufacture them jointly with us handing over relevant technologies,” she said.

Russia remains the world’s second biggest seller of arms behind the United States, increasing its share by 37 per cent in 2010-2014. China has boosted exports by 143 per cent, squeezing out Germany from the top three exporters.

Russian weapons were exported to 56 countries, with India, China and Algeria making for almost 60 per cent of total sales, said the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in its 2015 Yearbook released in March.

World’s biggest arms importers: India 15 per cent, Saudi Arabia 5 per cent and China 5 per cent according to SIPRI.

Russia-India ties are expected to receive a significant boost by twin visits by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Russia in July and November.

Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the “privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India” in a phone conversation with Modi earlier this month.

Putin pointedly thanked the Indian administration for the high-level delegation that participated in Russia’s Victory Day celebrations.

“Mr Putin expressed his thanks for India’s high level of representation at the events in Moscow celebrating the 70th anniversary of Victory in the 1941–1945 Great Patriotic War,” said the Kremlin statement.

Indian and Chinese Presidents Pranab Mukherjee and Xi Jinping were right beside Russian President Vladimir Putin although notably absentees included the leaders of Britain, France and the US.

New Delhi has said Moscow has “legitimate” interests in Ukraine and they should be discussed to find a satisfactory solution to the issue.

“We are watching what is happening in Ukraine with concern… The broader issues of reconciling various interests involved and there are, after all, legitimate Russian and other interests involved and we hope those are discussed, negotiated and there is a satisfactory resolution to them,” then Indian National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon had said in March 2014.



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