Russia welcomes India’s ‘independent’ position on Ukraine

New Delhi: Russia welcomed India’s “independent position” on the Ukraine crisis and said its views on the issue at the UN Security Council were reflective of the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two countries.

Russian Deputy Chief of Mission Roman Babushkin said India has been playing a vital role as a responsible global power and it takes an “independent and balanced” approach to world affairs.

He also said the crisis would not impact India-Russia ties, including in areas of defense, and that there will be a “huge” Russian participation in the DefExpo in Gujarat next month.

“We welcome the independent position of India which it took twice at the UN Security Council and which was expressed openly by the Indian external affairs minister and other officials,” he said at an online media briefing.

“The Indian activities at the UN Security Council are fully reflecting the merit of our special and privileged strategic partnership,” he added.

Amid escalating tension between Moscow and the West after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized two breakaway Ukrainian regions as independent states, India at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council called for “restraint on all sides”.

It stressed that the immediate priority is “de-escalation of tensions”, taking into account the legitimate security interests of all countries and aimed towards securing long-term peace and stability in the region and beyond.

Specifically asked whether the Western sanctions will adversely impact India-Russia defense cooperation including supply of S-400 missile systems, Babushkin did not give a direct reply but indicated that all the projects will continue.

“We keep in mind the possibility of the negative influence of sanctions with regard to our cooperation in particular affairs, including defense. But at the same time, when it comes to our case with India, we have very strong and trusted cooperation,” he said.

Babushkin said the Russia-India partnership is based on a strong and solid foundation and that his country was open to sharing sophisticated technologies with India.

He also said Russia’s participation in India’s DefExpo next month will be “huge”.

The Russian diplomat said India and Russia don’t “threaten” each other with unilateral sanctions and don’t interfere in each other’s domestic affairs.

“Our cooperation does not represent any threat to anyone and at the same time we keep moving shoulder-to-shoulder to establish a just and equal multipolar world,” he added, hoping that the intensity of India-Russia ties will continue at the same level.

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