New Delhi: Russia and India are “highly motivated” to ensure that defense cooperation between the two strategic partners is “uninterrupted” by the Ukraine crisis and that the “barriers” created by “negative external factors” are effectively mitigated, Russian Ambassador Denis Alipov said.
The envoy said PTI that Russia’s supply of S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems to India is progressing smoothly according to schedule and that the two sides maintain “real-time” communication on critical issues related to relations in the sector of the defense.
Concerns in India over Russian reliability
Alipov’s comments came amid apprehensions in some quarters in India that Russia’s supply of key military systems and equipment to India’s armed forces could be delayed due to the conflict in Ukraine.
“Defense cooperation is one of the main pillars of the Russian-Indian Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership. Our two countries are highly motivated to ensure that it remains uninterrupted,” Alipov said.
“We have successfully mitigated barriers created by negative external factors and adapted to new realities by using alternative payments and logistics options,” he said.
Asked specifically about the supply of the S-400 missile systems, Alipov said “it’s going smoothly according to schedule.”
S-400 missile deal
In October 2018, India signed a $5 billion deal with Russia to buy five units of the S-400 air defense missile systems, despite a warning from the United States that continuing the contract could lead to losses. US sanctions.
Russia began delivering the first missile regiment in December and it was deployed to cover parts of the border with China in the northern sector as well as the border with Pakistan.
It is learned that Russia has almost completed the delivery of the main components of the second regiment of weapons systems.
Regarding the overall supply of military equipment to India by Russia, Alipov said that if some delays in delivery and payment occurred, they would not be critical.
“Both sides maintain real-time communication to deal with this. Currently, we note positive momentum in the implementation of bilateral agreements and contracts, including on the supply of S-400 systems, while Russia is making its best to fulfill all its obligations in a timely manner,” the envoy said. said.
Military relations between India and Russia go back a long way
Russia has been a major supplier of military equipment to India. The two countries have been having discussions about what kind of payment mechanisms might work between them given Western sanctions against Moscow.
Unlike many other major powers, India has yet to directly criticize Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and it has abstained in votes on UN platforms to condemn the aggression. Russian.
India pushed for the resolution of the crisis through diplomacy and dialogue.
“We respect and appreciate India’s consistent position as it is based on solid foundations of international law and a strategic view of national interests,” Alipov said.
“We also feel that there is a deep understanding in Indian society of the origins of the Ukraine crisis which started long before February 2022,” he said.
The Russian military offensive against Ukraine began in February.
Western countries imposed severe sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
Asked about the annual summit between Russia and India this year, Alipov did not give a straight answer.
“Russia and India were among the very first to introduce the mechanism of annual summit exchanges 22 years ago. The only exception so far was 2020, the year the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. burst,” he said.
“Our leaders enjoy strong personal chemistry, maintain regular conversation and demonstrate deep mutual understanding. President (Vladimir) Putin’s visit to New Delhi in December 2021 was a landmark event,” Alipov said.
“This year, the two leaders have spoken four times on the phone. They have multiple opportunities to interact on international platforms such as BRICS, SCO and G20,” he added.