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10 Apr 2021, 20:39 HRS IST
  • PTI
  • India's time-tested relations with Russia stand on their own merit: MEA

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0:26 HRS IST

New Delhi, Apr 8 (PTI)
Against the backdrop of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's visit to Pakistan, India on Thursday said its close, time tested and strategic relations with Russia stand on their own merit and are not influenced by relations with other countries.

After visiting India, Lavrov on Tuesday travelled to Islamabad where he said Russia was ready to supply special military equipment to Pakistan to boost its counter-terror capabilities.

Replying to a question on Lavrov's Pakistan visit, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that he had already indicated that it is not for India to respond to it.

"India's close, time-tested and strategic relations with Russia stand on their own merit and are not influenced by relations with other countries," Bagchi said.

As regards the supply of defence equipment by Russia to Pakistan, the spokesperson, without elaborating said, "You are aware of India's well known position on this and I need not repeat it."

Asked about Afghanistan, Bagchi said India's position on the situation in that country was most recently articulated by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar at the recent Heart of Asia conference in Dushanbe as well as during his joint media interaction with Lavrov this week.

In New Delhi, the Russian foreign minister, at a press conference, said that any peace process to find a solution to the problem in Afghanistan should include all political, ethnic and religious groups including the Taliban.

On his part, Jaishankar said that the peace process must be based on foundational principles to which everyone subscribes. And a political solution should mean an independent, sovereign, united and democratic Afghanistan.

Asked about media reports that back-channel talks between India and Pakistan were going on for more than a year, Bagchi did not give a direct reply.

"If you talk about channels of communication on this issue, let me just recall that our respective high commissions exist and are functioning. So that is a very effective channel of communication," he said.

When referred to a Pakistani media report on the back-channel talks as well as possibility of the prime minister visiting that country for the SAARC summit later this year, the MEA spokesperson said, "Regarding speculations about the SAARC summit, I have nothing to share with you for the moment."

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is a regional grouping comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

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