New Delhi: Russian Ambassador Alexander Kadakin said Russia's relations with Pakistan have "separate value" but they will not be at the expense of ties with New Delhi.
Calling India as a time tested ally and "closest friend", Kadakin’s comments come after India reacted cautiously to the development of ties between Islamabad and Moscow. Weeks after it signed a military cooperation agreement with Pakistan, Russia said it will never do anything "detrimental" to India's security interests and that the pact does not envisage supply of any defence equipment to that country immediately. "Never ever will Russia do anything to the detriment of India's security. India is the closest friend of my country," Kadakin said addressing a press conference before Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to New Delhi on December 10. Russia may set up a total of 20-24 nuclear energy units in India against previously agreed 14-16 plants as both countries are likely to come out with a roadmap for cooperation in the crucial energy sector during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to New Delhi for annual Summit talks on Thursday. Kadakin said both countries are likely to start negotiations for setting up of unit five and six at the Kudankulam nuclear power complex soon and may sign a technical pact for unit 3 and 4 during Putin's visit. "We have big plans on nuclear energy cooperation," he said, addressing a press conference ahead of the Russian leader's visit. Kadakin said trial run for unit 2 of Kudankulam nuclear power should start in March and that technical glitches in unit one are being resolved. "Russia had agreed to help India build 14-16 nuclear units. Now it seems that the demand of India is much bigger and this may rise to 20-24 units," he said. Asked about escalation of cost in setting up of nuclear power plants, he chose not to link it to clauses in India's nuclear liability laws and only said prices have gone up everywhere. "Cooperation between the two countries in peaceful uses of nuclear energy will prominently figure at the Summit level talks. More than that a very serious and important document is on the anvil which relates to our common vision of joint work in our efforts to satisfy India's requirement in energy through building a series of nuclear plants," the envoy said. He said Russia was also expecting from the Indian side the name of the new site for another "cascade of nuclear power units". Kadakin also took potshots at the western powers, saying the Summit is taking place "against the background of a burdened international milieu, when we face increasing pressure of the US and their allies, trying to force our country to succumb its state sovereignty and act against our own national interests". "This will never happen, and these daydreaming minions should better get rid of illusions that Russia would ever act under anybody's diktat or pressure. Who are they to dictate to us?," he asked. Noting that Russia has interest in Afghanistan, the envoy said improvement in its relations with Pakistan will help influencing the country to get "desirable action". "You (India) declared you are ready to have more dialogue, more contact to improve your relationship with Pakistan. Since we are strategic partners, why cannot Russia improve its relation with Pakistan the way India does. After all it will be easier for us to together influence it (to take) desirable action," he said. Pakistan and Russia on November 20 had signed a military cooperation agreement to deepen their defence ties and vowed to translate their relationship in "tangible" terms. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu had also visited Pakistan last month. The visit by a Russian Defence Minister to Pakistan came after a gap of 45 years. "The frame work agreement which was signed with Pakistan does not envisage any immediate supply. It is just a framework agreement which we have with many countries," Kadakin said. "You must rest assured that India is Russia's strategic partner and closest friend," he said, adding Pakistan had asked for helicopters but they have not been given yet. "Russia's relations with Pakistan have their separate value. They have independent value. We also have a stake in Afghanistan," he said.
December 8, 2014 (News Mobile with inputs from PTI)