S-400 deal a proof of India-Russia ties: Russian Ambassador to India

S-400 deal a proof of India-Russia ties Russian Ambassador to India

The S-400 missile defence system, which India is acquiring from Russia in a multi-billion dollar deal, is a proof of the special nature of the partnership between the two countries, Nikolay R. Kudashev, the Russian Ambassador to India, says.

“This would be a valuable contribution to the security of the Indian air space and, this is also a proof of the special nature of the ties between India and Russia,” Mr. Kudashev said in an interview with The Hindu. The deal was on track, and the first batch of delivery was expected in 2020, he added.

Highly advanced

Last year, India and Russia signed the $5.2-billion deal for the S-400 system despite pressure from the U.S. and threats of sanctions. The S-400 is a highly advanced surface-to-air missile defence system that can shoot down hostile jets and missiles.

Asked if American sanctions would create hurdles for the payment of the system, Mr. Kudashev said both India and Russia recently came together to develop a practical solution, involving banks of two sides and national currencies, to overcome this challenge. “This is what I could say about it. So a practical solution is there and it started working. So as far as the problem is concerned, it’s no more there. Rather, it is about building the experience, the habit of payments in national currencies.”

Asked if India’s growing ties with the U.S. were a matter of concern for Moscow, he said, “We trust each other.” “We feel that it is more or less natural for a country of India’s size, influence and power to develop normal ties with other states... And we know that your relationship with the U.S. would not be anti-Russian in nature. Otherwise the existing trust and the depths of cooperation between us would not have been possible.”

He said Indo-Russia relationship was a living formula for the rest of the world. “Our relationship is not into a straitjacket. Our relationship is a living formula enriching the two of us. We are making the multipolar world stronger.” Asked about Russia’s growing ties with Pakistan in recent years, the Ambassador said Russia’s partnership with India and its ties with Pakistan were incomparable. “Our relationship with India is a special strategic partnership. We share with India unique confidence... Our relationship with Islamabad is minuscule. The aim of our ties with Pakistan is very much similar to yours — we need a stable government, predictable, we need a government which fulfils its obligations, to fight terror, drugs and crime,” Mr. Kudashev said.

He added that several connectivity projects between India and Russia were being discussed. “First, the idea of establishing a transportation connect between Chennai and Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East. This transportation corridor could bring closer Tamil Nadu’s development to the vast natural resources of Russia’s Far East. Gas, oil, coal, gold, diamonds, rare earth, other metals, etc., and vice versa.” Another idea of setting up a North-South transportation corridor which could bring Tamil Nadu closer to Russia’s European part is also in discussion, he said.

“We are part of the Eurasian region. We feel that we need more connectivity that would serve our national interest. This is simple realism.”

Kudankulam plant

He added that the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu was being developed successfully. “Block one and two are very much on. Three and four, construction activity started. For five and six, the legal issues are settled. Finance is there, the agreements are there, the contracts are there. We are looking for a second site — six more blocks. The Indian government should offer the site to us.”


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