Russia was not unduly bothered by Prime Minister Modi’s remarks to President Putin at the recent SCO summit, about this not being the era of war, said Denis Alipov, Moscow’s ambassador to India. At a media briefing, he said the remarks had been deliberately pulled out of context by the West.
“There is nothing new in India’s approach which has been very consistent towards Russia. The loud and clear reiteration by the prime minister to maintain and expand India-Russian ties was stated when he spoke about the ‘unbreakable friendship between our nations.’ So those Western leaders who quoted the PM’s remarks at the UNGA had in my view conveniently picked out the parts which suit their agendas while shying from those they don’t like.”
He made another point. “Let me make it clear that Russia’s approach does not differ from that of India’s as we too have desired a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine conflict from the very beginning. We have been calling for a peaceful resolution on Ukraine for the last 15 years only to face a blatant denial of our legitimate security concerns,” he stressed, adding that “Despite their talk about the defensive nature of the alliance the US and Nato present an acute and admitted danger to Russia’s security. It would have been irresponsible for us to stand idly in the face of such threats. Frankly, I did not see any such outcry when the US invaded Iraq in 2003. They were not condemned nor were economic sanctions put upon them as has been the case with us.”
He would not be drawn on when Russia could be expected to end its special operation in Ukraine.
Alipov acknowledged there had been a fall in India’s purchase of discounted Russian oil (imports have dropped by more than a quarter over the last two months), but was confident that this would be made up in the medium to long-term.
On the the US call for a price cap on Russian oil, he warned “I believe that India will pursue its own interests but from Russia’s side we want to make it clear that we will not supply oil to those countries that join the US initiative for a price cap. This will create a shortage in the global market and prices will go up even further.”
He insisted that the Ukraine war was not the reason for delays in certain arms supplies by Russia, adding that “Russia has no problems in honouring its commitments towards India.”
Alipov said Russia was not interested in mediating between India and China at the RIC or any other multilateral forum. Russia would only “encourage the two countries to find a quick and peaceful resolution to border disputes, unlike some countries who only encourage suspicions of India towards China and vice versa.”
Asked about Russia’s views regarding India’s bid to be a member of the UNSC and whether it could work on China to accept this, he said Russia “strongly supports India’s membership of UNSC and hoped that the necessary reform to expand the UN body would happen sooner rather than later.”