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Confident Russia will consider concerns over military exercise with Pakistan

Panaji, Oct 14 (IANS) New Delhi is confident that Moscow will reflect on Indian concerns over Russia’s participation in military exercises in Pakistan last month, Indian Ambassador to Russia Pankaj Saran said on Friday.

“We are confident Russia will reflect on our concerns; that is where we stand right now,” Saran said.

Earlier this week, Saran expressed unhappiness over the joint military exercise.

In an interview to a Russian news agency, Saran said military co-operation with Pakistan, “a state that sponsors and practices terrorism as a matter of state policy, is a wrong approach and it will only create further problems”.

Summit-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin are scheduled to be held in Goa on Saturday.

The Indian Ambassador said it was natural for issues related to terrorism to come up for discussion by the two leaders at the India-Russia summit.

He said the bilateral relationship was built over decades and it would not be legitimate to pitch the same against the joint military exercise, a one-off incident in question.

“… your question alludes to a specific incident or an episode that occurred a few weeks ago. I do not think it is at all legitimate to induce this relationship, that has been built up over several decades, over what happened a few days ago,” Saran said when asked if Russian participation in a military exercise with Pakistan reflected a change in Moscow’s long-standing disposition towards India.

As to whether Pakistan-sponsored terrorism will be discussed at the bilateral meeting, Saran said: “I would not like to pre-judge in any manner what exactly will be the agenda for discussion tomorrow (Saturday)”.

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