– globalbihari bureau
New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who is on a 3-day visit to Moscow at the invitation of the Russian Defence Minister to attend the 75th Anniversary of Victory Day Parade, stated after meeting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov in Moscow on Wednesday, that Russia’s response to Indian proposals on defence cooperation was “positive”.
The Indian Defence Minister’s visit to Russia, at a time when India and China relationship is at a low with frequent Chinese violation of the Line of Actual Control and the spurt in skirmishes which recently saw soldiers from both sides getting killed in Ladakh along LAC, assumes significance. Singh had tweeted before his departure that the visit “will give me an opportunity to hold talks on ways to further deepen the India-Russia defence and strategic partnership”.
It may be pointed out in the past, India had placed orders for the S-400 anti-air defence systems which it wants to be delivered faster, amid the border tensions with China, and also wants spares and supplies for military platforms in service. Reports suggest that while the S-400 anti-air defence systems were expected to be delivered by late 2021, India is keen on earlier deliveries, besides placing orders for 33 additional fighter jets of the Su-30 MKI and MiG-29 UPG class.
After meeting Borisov, Singh tweeted cryptically: “My discussions with the Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Yury Borisov 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.” He claimed all Indian proposals received “positive response” from the Russian side. “I am fully satisfied with my discussions,” he stated.
At their meeting, Singh and Borisov reviewed Indo-Russia defence cooperation and discussed ways to expand it. Borisov is the co-chair of the Inter-Governmental Commission with India on Trade & Economic & Scientific Cooperation. He also co-chairs with Indian Defence Minister, the High Level Committee on Science & Technology.
“Their discussions on bilateral cooperation and regional issues were very positive and productive,” a Defence Ministry press release stated here on Wednesday.
Singh stated that despite all the difficulties of the pandemic, India-Russia bilateral relations were keeping good contacts at various levels. India and Russia enjoy special and privileged strategic partnership and defence relationship is one of its important pillars. After reaching Moscow, Singh had informed that Russian President Vladimir Putin would be visiting India at the invitation of PM Narendra Modi, later this year.
Earlier on Wednesday morning, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar too had discussions with his counterpart, Deputy Defence Minister, Col General Alexander Fomin. They discussed bilateral defence cooperation issues and issues of regional development, the press release stated.
Indian Defence Minister’s visit to Moscow on June 22 has been the first foreign visit from India of an official delegation during 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 stated.
Singh conveyed his greetings for solemn ceremonies of 75th Victory Day in World War II and congratulated the friendly people of Russia, especially the veterans, who had contributed much to the common security of India and Russia.
The Tri-Service contingent of the Indian Armed Forces comprised of 75 all ranks and marched along with contingents of Russian Armed Forces and 17 other countries.
It may be mentioned that the British Indian Armed Forces during World War-II were one of the largest Allied Forces contingents which took part in the North and East African Campaign, Western Desert Campaign and the European Theatre against the Axis powers. These campaigns witnessed sacrifice by over 87 thousand Indian servicemen beside 34,354 being wounded. The Indian Military not only fought on all fronts, but also ensured delivery of goods along the Southern, Trans-Iranian Lend-Lease route, along which weapons, ammunitions, spare parts for equipment and food went to the Soviet Union, Iran and Iraq. The valour of the Indian soldiers was recognised with the award of over four thousand decorations, which also included award of 18 Victoria and George Cross.
In addition the then Soviet Union appreciated the valour of the Indian Armed forces and by the decree of 23 May 1944, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR signed by Mikhail Kalinin and Alexander Gorkin awarded the prestigious Orders of the Red Star to Subedar Narayan Rao Nikkam and Havildar Gajendra singh Chand of Royal Indian Army Service Corps.
In a series of tweet from Moscow Singh on Wednesday stated: “Attending the Victory Day Parade at Red Square in Moscow today to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Victory of the Soviet People in the great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. I am proud that a Tri-Service contingent of the Indian Armed Forces is also participating in this parade… Impressive turnout of the Tri-Service contingent of the Indian Armed Forces at the Victory Day Parade in Moscow is indeed an extremely proud and happy moment for me.”