The current Indian government should appreciate and maintain its long-standing friendly relations with Moscow, former Indian Ambassador to Uzbekistan and South Korea told Sputnik Tuesday. "India has always had good relations with Russia and the present government should, must have excellent relations with Russia and they should be maintained," Skand Ranjan Tayal said. Russia has long been India's ally, particularly in terms of military trade and defense cooperation. "Our defense ties with Russia have been strong and they will continue in the long run," the former ambassador added. His comments come a day after the United States, which of late have had strained relations with Russia, and India began a dialogue designed to boost cooperation between the two nations. Since 2014, Russia's relations with the West have deteriorated over the Ukrainian crisis. The West has blamed Russia for interfering in Ukraine's internal affairs, allegations Moscow has repeatedly denied. As the West imposed several rounds of sanctions against Moscow, India said it would neither support nor introduce any sanctions against Russia. Shri Yogendra Kumar, former Indian Ambassador to the Philippines and Tajikistan, also claims that Russia's relations with India are positive and "special," as Moscow, among other points, had helped New Delhi to boost its “strategic capacity”. "Russia has contributed immensely to bolstering the strategic capacity of India. In terms of defense equipment supply and cooperation in the field of space, Russian has helped us a lot. We have a special relationship with Russia. Our relations with Russia has a deep impact on the regional and international situation," he said. On Monday, the United States and India began a strategic dialogue, designed to boost cooperation between the two nations. This came ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the United States, which is due to begin on Thursday. Kumar said that despite the launching of the dialogue, India's relations with the Unites States were "complicated." "US keenly watches [to see] if India is trying get closer to Russia," the former ambassador said. Since the Soviet era, Russia and India have enjoyed mutually beneficial strategic relations, especially in the field of defense and military cooperation. In 2014, the total value of weapons and military hardware delivered by Russia to India reached $4.7 billion, according to Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation estimates. Earlier in September, India expressed interest in carrying out a joint project to extensively modernize its SU-30MKI aircraft in collaboration with Russian companies.