NEW DELHI: Long-serving Russian ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin, who passed away on Thursday after a brief illness aged 67, will be remembered in India’s diplomatic circles as a long-standing friend of India.
A fluent Hindi speaker and a lover of Indian culture, Kadakin’s engagement with India fostered Indo-Russia friendship since 1971. He often described India as his karma bhumi, gyan bhumi and tapa bhumi.
Kadakin stood by New Delhi during the 1999 Kargil conflict and helped it in building a home-grown nuclear-powered submarine, INS Arihant. He served five stints in India, including his first foreign posting and two terms as envoy during 1999-2004 and 2009-17. During the Kargil War, he played a significant role in India gaining access to much-needed ammunition and satellite imagery. His tenure also saw delivery of the long-pending aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov to India.
For his efforts he was awarded the Order of Friendship last year by the Russian president's chief of staff Sergey Ivanov in July last year.
Kadakin was one of the few diplomats who came out in support of India's surgical strikes in Pakistan in September 2016. “Greatest human rights violations take place when terrorists attack military installations and attack peaceful civilians in India. We welcome the surgical strike. Every country has the right to defend itself,” he had said.
Acknowledging Kadakin’s service to Indo-Russian ties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his condolences: "Deeply saddened at the passing away of Ambassador Alexander Kadakin. He was an admirable diplomat, a great friend of India & a fluent Hindi speaker who tirelessly contributed to stronger India-Russia ties."
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted, "In Amb Kadakin we lost a valued friend who nurtured #IndiaRussia relationship for many decades as a distinguished Russian diplomat."
Kadakin was born in 1949 in Chisnau in the then USSR. He graduated with honours from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1972.