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23 Jan, 2007 03:30

Russia against deployment of space weapons

Russia against deployment of space weapons

Russian Defence Minister, Sergey Ivanov, has said Russia is strongly opposed to the deployment of strike weapons in space. He made the statement during his visit to India. 

Sergey Ivanov was speaking to the Indian Space Research Organisation in Bangalore.

He added that space should be used as a means of communication and reconnaissance, and expressed hope that other countries will support Russia's stance.

The message of this statement is in unison with the general position of Russia's President Vladimir Putin which he outlined in his interview given to Indian media on the eve of Mr Putin's official visit to the country.

According to Russia's President, Russia stands for the idea of peaceful co-existence of all the countries in multi-polar world and makes every effort to get over old clichés survived from the cold-war epoch.

When asked about Russian intentions to become a world superpower, Mr Putin said the term was outdated.

“A ‘superpower’ is a term used during the cold war. When I hear people say that Russia strives for that, I can understand it only this way – this is a wish to undermine confidence in Russia, to frighten people with Russia and to create an image of an enemy. It is because those who are eager to go on with previous policies, the policies of the cold war, need an enemy badly. With no external enemy it is hard to maintain discipline among your allies and force them to make sacrifices no one needs at all,” stressed the President of Russia.

He also said that Russia supports the idea of multi-polar world.

“Russia stands for a multi-polar world, for democracy, for a stronger system of international law and for promoting a system of law that would let any small country feel safe – as safe as a house. All countries including small ones should not fear that a superpower may anytime break the rules for the sake of its interests, often selfish interests,” added Mr Putin.

Furthermore, Russia’s President believed that under present circumstances Russia is set to be equal among equals, not a world dictator.

“Russia is ready to become a part of that multi-polar world to guarantee observance of these rules on the world arena – not a superpower enjoying certain rights. Russia wants to be an equal among equals. For this purpose we need economic and military strength to guarantee observance of international law and equal rights of all those involved in international contacts,” underscored Mr Putin.

He was also asked about the possibility of running for the post of the state’s president for more than two times incessantly.

“I have been pondering over this matter for a long time-from the very first day I was elected for my first term. As I said elsewhere, I do enjoy my job. Based on the polls, I know what our people generally think about this matter. But I cannot demand that others abide by the law and yet violate it myself – actually, violate the main, basic law, the Constitution. The Constitution says the same person cannot run for president for more than two times in a row,” pointed out Vladimir Putin.

Talking about his possible successor, President Putin said, “Even now, I can tell you a little bit about what kind of a person the next president will be. According to the Constitution, this will be a citizen of Russia that has lived inside the country for at least 10 years and that is at least 35 years old”.

Expressing his expectations concerning the possible political course of the future president of the State, Mr Putin said, “Of course, I would like the future head of state to continue the current policies. Opinion polls show that the overwhelming majority of Russian citizens want it. I don’t think it is all by accident. I’d rather think it is because it was in recent years that we have escaped long-term crisis in Russia and made a transition to economic stability, steady economic and population incomes growth”.

Finally, President Putin highlighted the main task for Russia’s President to come.

“The key task for the future Russian leader and the Russian authorities will be to promote the growth of incomes and living standards of Russian citizens. I am sure that our citizens will be able to tell a decent thinking person from babblers, chatterers and idlers. However, in Russia – just like in any other democratic country – it is the people who take the final decision,” emphasized Mr Putin.

The interview of Rusia's President for India media turned out to be a good springboard for further working on the details of the political course of both countries and, in particular, the details of their relations under present conditions. This work is expected to be carried out during the Russian President's visit to India.

Meantime, in the framework of Russia's Defence Minister to India, the two countries have already agreed to work together in the field of so-called global navigation system, Glonas.

As head of Russian delegation visiting India prior to Russia's President, Mr Ivanov is expected to promote joint co-operation in cutting-edge technologies, including aircraft building, space and nuclear power.

Over the years India transformed into a country with a booming economy, especially in the field of high-technologies and services. Russia sees India, first of all, as an important economic partner.

Mr Ivanov said that Russia had always offered India its most modern military hardware, but times were changing.

Russia and India changed their business relations from simply selling and buying to license production. The two countries plan to work together in creating new generation fighter jets, and Russia plans to offer India its latest MiG-35.

Sergey Ivanov also says Russia wants Indian companies to take part in the Sakhalin-3 oil and gas project. According to the Russian Defence Minister, India could invest in the Vankor field in Siberia.

President Putin is expected to sign during his visit to India later this week an agreement for a joint venture between the two countries' titanium companies, funded by India's debt to Russia.