Not concerned over Indo-US ties, apprehensive about Washington’s agenda: Russian envoy Nikolay Kudashev

Russia was not concerned over the growing Indo-US ties, but had apprehensions over Washington’s “agenda” as it “does not look constructive” for Moscow, Russian envoy Nikolay Kudashev said today.

He said the Indo-Russia relations had a huge potential for a further expansion, considering the level of cooperation the two countries had seen in different areas in the past.

Seeking to assuage India’s concerns over the growing engagements between Pakistan and Russia, Kudashev asserted that Moscow’s relations with New Delhi were “second to none”.

“The majority of the glorious track of bilateral cooperation — be it military, space, nuclear — goes back to the 60s and 70s. So, it is a long-established tradition. Instead of saying exhausted, I would rather use the word undersized or too short for the present potential of the India-Russia (relations),” he said.

The Russian envoy was responding to a question on whether the existing model of the India-Russia relations had exhausted itself.

Kudashev said the two countries were working on new avenues and dimensions of cooperation.

He was speaking at an event at the Vivekananda Foundation, where a report titled ’70th Anniversary of India- Russia Relations: New Horizons of Privileged Partnership’ was released.

India’s relations with the US have bettered over the last few years and the latter is one of the major defence partners of New Delhi. Russia also remains a vital partner of India in strategic sectors. The two countries jointly held the first ever tri-services military exercise in Russia last month.

Asked about Russia’s apprehensions about the growing India-US cooperation, particularly in the defence sector, the envoy said, “As regards the relationship with the US, it is not exactly the Indian side where our concern lies, but it is mostly on the other side, the side of the United States, whose agenda does not look positive, constructive for us, as of today at least.”

He expressed hope that this would change in the near future and the three countries would work together for the Eurasian community.

India too has expressed concern over Russia’s growing ties with Pakistan, especially after a two-week-long military exercise between the defence forces of the two countries in September.

Kudashev said countering terrorism was the substance of the relationship between Russia and Pakistan.

“The crux is very clear, it cannot be equated with our relationship with India, which is a privileged and strategic partnership and is second to none…as far as the level of confidence, trust is concerned,” the Russian envoy said.

Asked about Russia’s position on One Belt One Road, Kudashev evaded a direct reply, but said Moscow was in favour of an understanding between China and India on the issue.