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28 Apr, 2023 21:06

Indian defense minister hails ‘excellent’ relations with Russia

Rajnath Singh and Sergey Shoigu met in New Delhi during the SCO summit
Indian defense minister hails ‘excellent’ relations with Russia

Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh praised as “excellent” his meeting with Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu on Friday, as New Delhi hosted defense ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The two ministers “discussed wide-ranging issues of bilateral defense cooperation,” including the ways in which the Russian defense industry could help New Delhi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, the Indian Defense Ministry said in a statement after the meeting.

Singh and Shoigu also “expressed satisfaction over the continued trust and mutual respect between the two countries,” and acknowledged “the unique, long-lasting and time-tested relationship between India and Russia,” the Indian ministry noted.

Their meeting took place on the sidelines of the SCO defense ministers’ meeting, held on Thursday and Friday in the Indian capital. According to Russian and Indian media, the meeting was attended by defense ministry delegations from India, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as Belarus and Iran. 

Speaking at the meeting, Shoigu warned that the West has been applying “unprecedented pressure” on independent nations in order to coerce them into supporting its global hegemony. By way of example, he listed “open blackmail, threats, ‘color revolutions,’ coups, and dissemination of blatant disinformation.”

The US has tried to woo India specifically, sending its ‘sanctions czar’ Daleep Singh to meet with PM Narendra Modi’s government last March. Anonymous US officials told CNN in September that they had been “in deep conversation” with India about its “dependence” on Russia in the military and energy fields, and offered “to help them have options to diversify.” 

Meanwhile, trade between Moscow and New Delhi has more than doubled, while their agreement to settle accounts in currencies other than the US dollar has dented Washington’s global dominance.