Rajnath Attends Russia’s Victory Day Event, Talks Partnership
Rajnath is in Moscow to participate in a joint meeting of the Defence Ministers of SCO, CSTO and CIS countries.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who is on a three-day visit to Russia accompanied by a delegation including the Defence Secretary and other senior officials, participated in the 75th anniversary event of 'Victory Day', marking the Soviet Union's triumph in World War II on Friday, 3 September.
The minister is in Moscow to participate in a joint meeting of the Defence Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries.
Addressing the joint meeting, Singh said India is committed to the evolution of a global security architecture which will be open, transparent, inclusive, rules-based and anchored in international laws, IANS reported.
He also congratulated Russia for successfully managing the coronavirus pandemic. “We applaud Russian scientists and health workers for spearheading the Sputnik V vaccine. I wish you all health and success in this time of pandemic!” he said, as quoted by IANS.
The minister also appreciated Russia for organising the annual anti-terror exercise “Peace Mission”, that has contributed to building trust and sharing of experience among defence forces.
Singh Talks Fights Against COVID, Terrorism
“India values the works of SCO Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure. We laud RATS' recent work in the cyber domain to prevent the spread of extremism. The adoption of anti-terror measures by the SCO Council to counter extremist propaganda and de-radicalisation is a significant decision,” he said.
Rajnath Singh told the member countries’ representatives that there is need of institutional capacity to deal with both traditional and non-traditional threats - above all, terrorism, drug-trafficking and transnational crime.
“As you all are aware, India unequivocally condemns terrorism in all forms and manifestations, and condemns its proponents,” he said.
According to IANS, he noted that 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War as well as the formation of the United Nations, which underpins a peaceful world, where international laws and sovereignty of states are respected and states refrain from unilateral aggression on one another.
India's participation in the Victory Parade on 24 June in Moscow was homage from India to the unparalleled contribution of Soviet people to free this world of Fascism, Nazism and their revanchist passion, he said.
“Memory of WWII teaches us of the follies of aggression of one state upon another, which brings destruction to all. Our forefathers, including those from India and former Soviet Union, made supreme sacrifices to resist aggression and expansionism,” Singh added.
‘India Concerned About Situation in Afghanistan’
India is concerned about the security situation in Afghanistan and will continue to support the local government's efforts for peace, Singh said on Friday.
Addressing the meeting, he said: “India will continue to support the efforts of the people and the government of Afghanistan for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled inclusive peace process.”
He appreciated the role of SCO Contact Group on Afghanistan and how it is useful for exchanging notes among SCO member states.
The current security situation in Afghanistan remains volatile with both the Taliban and the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) stepping up attacks across the country.
In its bid to enhance its territory, the Taliban seized control of Yumgan district in the northeastern province of Badakhshan in March, while continuing with its attacks targeting the Afghan security forces. The Taliban have long controlled the Yumgan and Jurm districts of Badakhshan Province until the government forces retook them late in 2019.
Rajnath Singh also said that India is also deeply concerned about the situation in the Persian Gulf.
He asserted that India has vital interests and civilisational links with all states in the Gulf.
“We call upon countries in the region - all of which are dear and friendly to India, to resolve differences by dialogue based on mutual respect, sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs,” he said.
The minister also said that a peaceful stable and secure region of SCO member states - which is home to over 40 percent of the global population - demands a climate of trust and cooperation, non-aggression, respect for international rules and norms, sensitivity to each other's interest and peaceful resolution of differences.
‘International Ministry Co-Operation Will Intensify After Meet’: Russia
Defence Ministry, Russian Federation issued a statement saying that international military cooperation will intensify after the meeting.
“Joint meeting of Defence Department Heads of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Commonwealth of Independent States and Collective Security Treaty Organization countries held today near Moscow under Defence Minister of Russian Federation, General of Army Sergei Shoigu,” it said.
“Sergei Shoigu expressed confidence that international military cooperation will intensify after this meeting, and the results of the meeting will become a solid basis for deepening interaction between defence departments,” the statement said.
‘Excellent Meet with Russian Counterpart’: Rajnath
Singh on Thursday, 3 September, took to Twitter to say that he had an ‘excellent’ meeting with his Russian counterpart Gen Sergey Shoigu in Moscow.
The Defence Ministry in its statement said that the meeting in Moscow covered a broad range of areas of cooperation between the two countries.
“The meeting in Moscow covered a broad range of areas of cooperation between the two countries. It was noted that this meeting coincides with the Indra Naval Exercises to be conducted by the Indian and Russia navies off the Straits of Malacca over the next two days,” the ministry said in a statement.
Singh also conveyed appreciation for the steadfast support provided by Russia consistent with the defence and security needs of India, and in this context, particularly noted the timely manner in which the Russian had responded to requests for procurement of particular weapon systems, the statement said.
“Both sides would continue to maintain contacts to ensure the timely delivery. Raksha Mantri Shri @rajnathsingh also briefed Gen Shoigu on the ‘Make-in-India’ defence programme in the context of Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi’s Aatma Nirbhar Bharat vision,” the Ministry said.
Both sides also welcomed the advance stage of discussions for the establishment in India of an India-Russian Joint Venture for the production of AK203 assault rifles which are considered one of the most modern weapons available for infantry forces.
Singh also extended an invitation for Gen Shoigu to visit India for the next meeting of the Inter-Governmental Commission for Technical & Military Cooperation which is expected to be held towards the end of this year.
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