Kashmir Valley (Photo: AP)
Kashmir Valley (Photo: AP)

Kashmir a bilateral matter, says Russia’s ambassador to India

  • In recent years, as tensions have mounted with the West over Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Moscow has been growing closer to China

NEW DELHI: Russia on Friday said the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan was a “bilateral matter" and Moscow has never been in favour of it being brought for discussion at the United Nations.

The comment by Russia’s ambassador to India Nikolai Kudashev came during a briefing to reporters in New Delhi a day after the UN Security Council discussed the Kashmir issue in a closed door meeting following a Chinese request at Pakistan’s behest.

“As far as discussions within the UNSC are concerned Russia has never been in favor of bringing this issue to United Nations agenda because now this is strictly bilateral matter to discuss between India and Pakistan" based on Shimla Agreement and Lahore Declaration, Kudashev said.

In recent years, as tensions have mounted with the West over Russia’s annexation of Crimea, claimed by Russia though seen as part of Ukraine and over other issues, Moscow has been growing closer to China. Russia has also been cultivating ties with Pakistan, regarded by India as an adversary due to Islamabad’s support to terrorism against India.

New Delhi which was seen as a friend of Russia in the Cold War days has watched Russia’s growing closeness to China and Pakistan with concern and in recent times tried to re-engage Russia. In 2018, prime minister Narendra Modi visited the Russian city of Sochi to reset ties with Russian president Vladmir Putin that has brought ties back on an even keel.

On Friday, Kudashev’s deputy, Roman Babushkin told reporters that Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar will visit Russia on 22-23 March for a Russia-India-China trilateral meeting. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi is expected to make two visits to Russia this year – one for Victory Day celebrations in May and the second for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) meeting in July. Modi and Russia president Vladimir Putin are to meet about half a dozen times at these events and on the margins of other multilateral events like the G-20 meeting in Saudi Arabia.

Babushkin also added that all the five S-400 surface to air missile systems ordered by India from Russia will be delivered to India by 2025. The production of S-400 missiles to be delivered to India has started, he said. India and Russia signed the deal for the purchase of the S-400 systems in October 2018. But there have been worries that the US would sanction India under its Countering America’s Adversaries Though Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for buying the system from Russia given that CAATSA targets the Russian interests including its defence, security and financial institutions in the backdrop of its military intervention in Ukraine and its alleged meddling in the 2016 US Presidential elections. New Delhi has been engaging the US on the subject explaining that weapons procured from Russia will not be used to target the US.

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