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India Russia’s ‘privileged strategic partner’: Putin

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Vladimir Putin

Moscow, Oct 13 : President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said Russia remained the top supplier of advanced weapons and defence technology to its “privileged strategic partner” India and added that Moscow and other BRICS nations were determined to back New Delhi’s fight against terror.

“Russia remains in the lead in terms of both direct supplies of most advanced weapons and military equipment and conducting joint researches with India as well as producing goods for military purposes. Our countries actively collaborate in the military technical field,” Putin said in an exclusive interview to IANS and Sputnik news agencies.

He underlined India-Russia partnership in the development of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile and building of a new fifth-generation fighter aircraft as “the successful joint projects” of the two countries.

The President, who will be in Goa for the five-nation BRICS Summit this weekend, said many of the Russian projects in India not only have commercial importance but also play a significant social and economic role for the economies of the two partners.

Such projects, he said, “harmoniously fit in the new Indian industrialisation programme”, a reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative.

“Russian companies see real prospects and high attractiveness of the Indian market,” Putin said in response to questions jointly emailed by IANS and Russian Sputnik wire service.

Describing India as “Russia’s especially privileged strategic partner,” Putin said the cooperation between the two countries was “making good headway in all areas on the basis of strong traditions of friendship, trust and mutual respect”.

Putin responded to a range of issues, including India-Russia economic ties, terrorism and Afghanistan.

On the economic front, he said India still remained “Russia’s major foreign trade partner” despite trade between the two countries dropping by 7.8 per cent last year.

“We are resolved to overcome the negative trend, which, in our opinion, is largely associated with volatility on the global markets and in exchange rates,” he said.

The comments come amid a notion that India had made a strategic shift in its military diplomatic ties after a rapid rise in arms trade with the US and other Western nations.

Russia has been traditionally the largest arms supplier to India. But the ties have witnessed some strain, particularly over the cost overrun of some Russian projects, including the delivery of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov.

India has also made its concerns known over Russia’s decision to supply Pakistan with the Mi-35 attack helicopters and engines for the JF-17 — a lightweight single-engine multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by China and Pakistan.

Russia recently also conducted a joint military drill with Pakistan, sparking strong opposition from India at a time New Delhi was seeking to isolate Islamabad on charges of sponsoring terrorism.

But Putin shared his views unambiguously on terrorism, saying the BRICS bloc was “determined” to cooperate in the fight against terrorism.

“For our five countries’ leaders this meeting (in Goa) will be a good opportunity to harmonise our positions on key issues on the international agenda. We are determined to cooperate in the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and corruption,” Putin said.

Putin said BRICS, made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, would “also contribute to settling conflicts and ensuring international information security”.

The two-day summit in Goa begins on Saturday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to hold a bilateral meeting with Putin on the sidelines.

Modi is likely to raise the issue of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism with the Russian president.

On Afghanistan, Putin said India and Russia were both interested in deepening “constructive multilateral cooperation” to help rebuild the war-torn country where decisive action was needed to defeat terrorism.

“Russia and India share the need to support national reconciliation efforts under international law and are interested in deepening constructive multilateral cooperation for the purposes of assisting Afghanistan in solving the issues of national security, building counter-narcotics capacity, ensuring social and economic development, and enhancing interconnectivity.”

Questions to Putin were emailed before India’s September 29 surgical strikes targeting terrorist launch pads in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Russia

Putin to meet senior N. Korean official: Kremlin

Kim is coming to Moscow to attend the FIFA World Cup opening ceremony, Peskov was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency on Wednesday.

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Vladimir Putin

Moscow, June 13 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea, here on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Kim is coming to Moscow to attend the FIFA World Cup opening ceremony, Peskov was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency on Wednesday. His trip to Russia follows a landmark Singapore summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump on Tuesday.

Trump said his country will provide security guarantees to Pyongyang, while Kim reaffirmed his commitment to a complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

“The results of this meeting have yet to be analyzed in depth, but the very fact that such a meeting was held and a direct dialogue was started can only be welcomed,” Peskov said.

The spokesman reiterated Russia’s position that there was no alternative to political and diplomatic methods of settling the Korean problem.

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Russia

Russia’s Putin sworn in for another six years in office

The Russian constitution bars him from running again when his new terms ends in 2024.

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Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin was sworn in for another six years as Russian president on Monday.

Standing in the Grand Kremlin Palace’s ornately-decorated Andreyevsky Hall with his hand on a gold-embossed copy of the constitution, Putin swore to serve the Russian people, safeguard their rights and freedoms, and defend Russian sovereignty.

Putin was inaugurated for his fourth term as president two months after more than 70 per cent of voters backed him in a presidential election in which he had no serious challengers.

His most dangerous opponent, Alexei Navalny, was barred from running in that vote and on Saturday Navalny and hundreds of his supporters were detained by police while protesting over Putin’s new term under the slogan: “Putin is not our tsar”.

Putin, who is 65, embarks on his fourth term in office buoyed by widespread popular support but weighed down by a costly confrontation with the West, a fragile economy and uncertainty about what happens when his term ends.

The Russian constitution bars him from running again when his new terms ends in 2024.

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Middle East

Putin warns against further actions violating UN charter

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Vladimir Putin

Moscow, April 16 : Further actions violating the UN charter such as the recent US-led strikes on Syria will result in chaos in international relations, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani over phone on Sunday.

The two leaders condemned Saturday’s airstrikes by the US and its allies on Syria and agreed that it would hinder the process of a political settlement in the war-torn country, according to a Kremlin statement, Xinhua news agency reported.

“It was stated that this illegal action seriously damages the prospects for a political settlement in Syria. Putin in particular stressed that if such actions, carried out in violation of the UN Charter, continue, it will inevitably lead to chaos in international relations,” the statement read.

The US, together with Britain and France, launched missile strikes on Syria on Saturday, saying that it was in response to an alleged chemical weapon attack by the Syrian military. The Syrian government has categorically denied the accusation.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the same day held an emergency meeting over the missile attack at Russia’s request but failed to approve a resolution condemning the bombardment.

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