India-Russia ties are one of ‘Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership’: Rajnath Singh
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh meets Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, Yury Ivanovich Borisov, in Moscow on Tuesday. (PTI)
THE relations between India and Russia are one of “Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership” and the ongoing military contracts between the two sides will be maintained and in a number of cases will be taken forward in a shorter time, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday. Singh, who arrived here on a three-day visit on Tuesday at the invitation of the Russian Ministry of Defence to attend the 75th Anniversary of Victory Day Parade, said his visit to Moscow is the first foreign visit from India of an official delegation after the COVID pandemic.
“This is a sign of our special friendship. Despite all the difficulties of the pandemic, our bilateral relations are keeping good contacts at the various levels,” Singh said while addressing the media here. “India-Russia relations are one of Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership. Our defence relationship is one of its important pillars,” he said. The minister reviewed bilateral defence relationship with Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov who visited him in his hotel, despite the restrictions of the pandemic. “My discussions were very positive and productive. I have been assured that ongoing contracts will be maintained and not just maintained, in a number of cases will be taken forward in a shorter time.
All our proposals have received positive responses from the Russian side. I am fully satisfied with my discussions,” Singh said, indicating the timely delivery of the S-400 missile defence systems to India. In October 2018, India had signed a USD 5 billion deal with Russia to buy five units of the S-400 air defence missile systems, notwithstanding warning from the Trump administration that going ahead with the contract may invite US sanctions. Last year, India made the first tranche of payment of around USD 800 million to Russia for the missile systems.
Moscow was to begin the delivery of the system by the second half of next year. Russia has been one of India’s key suppliers of arms and ammunition. However, it has been a long-standing grievance of armed forces that supply of critical spares and equipment from Russia takes a long time affecting maintenance of military systems procured from that country. “I can say with confidence that the traditional friendship between India and Russia remains strong. Our mutual interests are solid and we look to future cooperation in the spirit of our special friendship,” Singh said.