India, Russia converge on terror, sign 16 pacts

putin-modiGOA: Underscoring the special and unique nature of their relations, India and Russia have signed 16 pacts in diverse areas, including defence, energy, trade and investment and promoting connectivity that are set to provide added heft to this crucial strategic partnership.

Dispelling speculation about drift in bilateral ties, the leaders of the two countries underscored the special and privileged character of the India-Russia strategic partnership.

The meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a luxury hotel in Benaulim on October 15 was marked by warmth, mutual trust and a meeting of minds on a wide gamut of issues, including terrorism.

Highlighting convergence between India and Russia on a range of issues, Mr Modi expressed appreciation of Russia’s “unequivocal condemnation” of the cross-border terror attack in Uri on September 18. “Russia’s clear stand on need to combat terrorism mirrors our own. We deeply appreciate Russia’s understanding and support of our actions to fight cross border terrorism that threatens our entire region. We both affirmed the need for zero tolerance in dealing with terrorists and their supporters,” Mr Modi said at a joint media appearance with Russian President Vladimir Putin here.

Mr Putin also underscored that Russia is committed to jointly combating terrorism. The solidarity and convergence on terrorism is significant as Russia’s joint military exercise with Pakistan had sparked anxiety in India about Moscow’s intentions. India, however, expressed confidence that Moscow will never act against India’s interests.

“We have great faith in Russia. Russia will never do anything that is contrary to our interests. It’s a meeting of minds,” said Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar. “It’s a very strong time-tested partnership. The relationship has recorded substantive progress in all areas. We see Russia as more than a partner, a true friend.”

Mr Modi invoked a Russian saying to reassure Russia that India deeply values friendship and partnership with Russia. “An old friend is better than two new friends,” Mr Modi said.

”Terrorism is a global issue. The [country that is the] epicentre of terrorism is near India. But the actions of that country [Pakistan] is having global impacts. We agreed on the need to have an international legal framework on terrorism and better border management” added Mr Jaishankar.

In a slew of steps that are set to transform their economic relationship, India and Russia firmed up a roadmap to bring their economic relations on a par with their robust defence and strategic partnership.

Mr Modi also unveiled big-ticket defence deals which will allay Moscow’s gripe that it’s losing the Indian market to its arch rival US. These deals include the purchase of the S-400 missile system, which can target multiple airborne objects simultaneously till a distance of 400 km and supply of Kamov K226T helicopters to India.

As India and Russia gear up to celebrate the 70thanniversary of their diplomatic relations, Mr Modi aptly described the singular character of India-Russia partnership. “We are working to model a partnership that befits our common ambition and meets our shared goals for the twenty-first (21st) century. Our close friendship has given clear direction, fresh impulse, stronger momentum and rich content to our ties.”

“In the emerging regional and global landscape, it has been a source of strength and substance, a driver of peace and a factor of stability,” Mr Modi said.


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