MOSCOW: India today hoped that Russia would not do anything to harm its interests as it steps up ties with Pakistan, underlining that New Delhi and Moscow enjoyed a multidimensional relationship based on mutual trust and strategic convergence.
Calling nuclear energy as one of the most important and best examples of strategic cooperation between India and Russia, Indian envoy to Russia Pankaj Saran has said Russia is the only country which is building a nuclear power plant in India today.
"We are happy with our ongoing cooperation and the perspectives for further growth. We have an agreed roadmap which rests on the twin pillars of serial construction and localisation, plus there are other areas and forms of cooperation, including partnerships in third countries," he was quoted as saying by Russian daily Nizavisimaya Gazeta.
"As far as the role of other countries in India is concerned, we should see this in the context of the size of our economy, the scale of our energy needs, and the still small proportion of nuclear energy in our total energy mix.
"Our total installed generation capacity currently is 330 GW. India's needs in the future are much higher. No single country or source of energy will be able to meet our requirements, but in any scenario Russia will be a major partner," he said.
Saran noted that Russia is within its rights to develop relations with all countries in the world.
"It is its sovereign right. We believe that Russia will not do anything that will harm its relations with India or the interests of India," he said while answering how India perceives "thaw" in relations between Russia and Pakistan.
Russia is strengthening its military ties, including conducting military exercises, with Pakistan.
In 2016, Russia and Pakistan held their first ever joint exercise called 'Druzhba 2016'. In 2017, the special forces of Russia and Pakistan conducted a joint counter-terrorism exercise in the Mineralnye Vody region in Russia.
Russia's ties with Pakistan has become stronger since the two signed a military cooperation agreement in 2014.
Noting that India-Russia relationship has withstood the test of time, Saran said the bilateral cooperation has become even more relevant as the world is readjusting to the emergence of new powers.
"The partnership between India and Russia is a multi-dimensional one. It runs deep and is a fundamental pillar of India's foreign policy. We have mutual trust and strategic convergence. We do not develop relations with countries at the cost of our relations with other countries. India has and will always pursue an independent foreign policy," Saran said.
Underlining that India and Russia have the same objectives in Afghanistan, Saran said India wants to help Afghanistan build a safe, secure and stable society, to defeat the evil of terrorism and eradicate the threat from narcotics.
"We work with Moscow in different platforms to achieve these goals, but finally the solution has to come from within Afghanistan, without external interference. India has a special relationship with Afghanistan which goes back centuries. The Afghans have always regarded India as a trusted friend and development partner," he said.
Saran also noted that there is a deficit in information about Russia in India, as well as about India in Russia.
"Our peoples deserve the opportunity to learn about each other directly rather than through intermediaries or eyes of third countries, which leads to wrong perceptions. This is a longstanding problem. It is absolutely essential to change this situation," he said.