Friday 26 April 2019, 07:11 AM
Rajnath Singh to visit Russia to convince Putin to deny Pakistan new weapons
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 9/13/2016 12:00:00 AM

New Delhi: Rajnath Singh will visit Russia during the first ever Pakistan-Russia joint military exercise later this year. While a visit to US was planned months ago, his Russian visit was firmed up just last month. Experts believe that India is sending Rajnath Singh to convince Russia not to sell combat aircraft to Pakistan.

The two nation tour of Russia and the US by Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh is an effort press Pakistan for its activities in Jammu and Kashmir. Sources from the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs said that during his trips, Singh would highlight Pakistan's involvement in terror activities and the recent spurt of violence in Jammu and Kashmir.

Sources from the Ministry of Home Affairs said that while Singh's visit to the US was planned months ago, his five-day visit to Russia starting from September 18 was finalized in last week of August. Singh will reportedly hold talks with Russian Minister for Internal Affairs Vladimir Kolokoltsev on September 20, but both nations are still developing the agenda for the talks. Singh will then travel to the US on September 26 for a seven-day visit to the Indo-American Homeland Security Dialogue with his American counterpart, Jeh Charles Johnson. However, for India, Russian cooperation in anti-terror activities will hold much more importance.

Apart from discussing anti-terror cooperation in Russia, Singh intends to raise India's growing concern over reports of military cooperation between Pakistan and Russia. Manoj Joshi, Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation said, "In the current strategic realignment, it is unlikely for India to bring Russia and the US on same platform against Pakistan, especially on the issue of anti-terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir. Russia is holding its first ever joint military exercise with Pakistan and Islamabad is serious to win over Russian hearts to procure advanced warplanes from Moscow. It may be possible that India is sending Rajnath Singh to pacify Russia not to sell combat aircraft to Pakistan."

It is very crucial for India to placate Russia to not to supply combat aircraft or any other military equipment to Pakistan because India holds around 70% Soviet or Russian made military equipment. Pakistan currently is armed with US made aircraft such as the F-16 and other military equipment.

"India's defense cooperation with Russia is much more than any other nation but, of late, India is experiencing flexibility in its relations with Russia. Now, Russia also wants the same flexibility in bilateral relations but this could pose difficulties for India."

Pakistan and Russia are set to hold their first ever joint military exercise later this year which Indian authorities view as steadily growing military cooperation between Russia and Pakistan. This could be also evident from the fact that the chiefs of Pakistan's Army, Navy and Air Force traveled to Russia just last year alone. Last year, Pakistan and Russia signed a deal for the purchase of four Mi-35 attack helicopters. Pakistan is also exploring options to buy world's most advanced Su-35 combat aircraft from Russia.

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Rajnath Singh to visit Russia to convince Putin to deny Pakistan new weapons

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