Russia on Monday said it is committed to developing its relationship with Pakistan, though India should have no concern about such moves as they are within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and aimed at ensuring regional stability.
Moscow’s efforts to develop relations with Islamabad fit in with the basic values of the strategic partnership between India and Russia, Russian ambassador Nikolay Kudashev told a news briefing. His deputy, Roman Babushkin, said Russia’s ties with Pakistan are “independent in nature” and the two sides have a trade and economic agenda.
“If you take a look at the substance of our ties with Pakistan and the priorities we are committed to, you could easily see they would correspond to the basic values of Russia and India, especially the privileged and strategic partnership – issues like regional stability, transparency, fighting terror, drugs and crime first and foremost,” Kudashev said in response to a question on a perceived uptick in ties between Moscow and Islamabad.
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Economic cooperation between Russia and Pakistan, Kudashev said, is a key to progress and predictability. “Our ties with Pakistan are naturally no exception to the values of our ties with India,” he added.
Babushkin said India should not be worried about Russia’s commitment to respect the sensitivities of any other country.
“Russia is very cautious when it comes to respect of sensitivities but at the same time we regard our relations with Pakistan are independent in nature and we also have a bilateral trade and economic agenda. We are quite committed to developing this relationship further, including from the point of view of Pakistan being a partner country in the framework of the SCO,” he said.
“The basic principle of Russian foreign policy is to have bilateral relations not aimed against any other country. This is the very important principle we are following when it comes to cooperation with every country in the world, including Pakistan,” he added.
Babushkin said a recent exercise between the Russian and Pakistani armies focused on counter-terrorism. “Such kind of collaboration, including experience sharing and capacity-building, is quite natural for all SCO member states. We have reached an advanced level of exercises with India including the three services…All of that is important from the point of view of how we proceed to ensure regional stability. Promoting dialogue and a unified agenda are also instrumental for the same reasons,” he said.
India has in the past expressed concerns about possible arms deals between Russia, the supplier of a majority of weapon systems used by Indian armed forces, and Pakistan.
In response to an another question, Babushkin said Russia and India closely consult each other on the situation in Afghanistan.
The current negotiations between the Taliban and the US are being done on the basis of agreements between the two sides. Russia wants these negotiations to be successful and lead to a “forward-looking solution in Afghanistan” so that the war-torn country can have a “maximum possible representative government” takes care of the interests of all national and ethnic groups, Babushkin said.