Despite US disapproval, India and Russia for hi-tech weapons manufacturing – The Tribune India

Sandeep Dikshit

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 6

Far from being dissuaded from the US threat to impose sanctions, New Delhi and Moscow discussed the additional production of Russian military equipment under PM Modi’s make-in-India initiative, said visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after meeting his counterpart S Jaishankar here on Tuesday.

Noting that Russia is the only partner that transfers cutting-edge military technology to India, Lavrov said talks touched on manufacturing of state-of-the-art weapon systems.

“In this strategically important area, Russia is a major foreign contractor for New Delhi. I am sure deepening of Russian Indian military cooperation serves the national interest of both countries,” said Lavrov.

Denying that he had said US exercises pressure on India, Lavrov said there were no discussions on statements from the US against arms trade with Russia.

In a departure from top US officials advising India to cut down on arms purchases from Russia, Lavrov said Moscow respected the right of India to diversify ties in these areas. Both sides also touched on cooperation in energy, including nuclear, peaceful exploration of space and manned programs, rocket engine building, satellite navigation, the Russian Far East and the Arctic.

Fresh from a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi last month, Lavrov said though Russia-China relations at the summit-level are at their highest levels in history; there are no discussions on a military alliance. Whether it was a Russia-China military alliance or talks of a Middle East NATO or an Asian NATO, “we believe it is counterproductive. Our Indian friends