India and Russia also continue to strengthen military and military-technical cooperation (File image courtesy: PIB)
Russia and India continue to strengthen their ties despite the slew of anti-Moscow sanctions which have been imposed by the West, believes Russian Ambassador to India Denis Alipov.
Emphasising that Moscow remains grateful to New Delhi for its "objective assessment of the Ukrainian events", the Russian Ambassador said that India understands the background of the present geopolitical and geo-economic situation and the forced nature of Russia's actions in Ukraine.
At the same time, the Kremlin – Alipov told Russian state-owned news agency Sputnik in an interview – is realistic about India being interested in developing cooperation with the rest of the world, including the United States and Europe as national interests and the need to preserve strategic autonomy guides the Indians in their actions, rejecting the very idea of dividing lines and the paradigm of bloc confrontation.
"India does not support attempts to isolate Russia in multilateral forums and is critical of the West's wish to reduce the international agenda to the conflict in question, ignoring other key global and regional problems, which the West itself has exacerbated significantly. The pressure exerted by the West, aggressively imposing its conditions about who one can and cannot be friends with, causes the rejection of such diktat," said Alipov in the interview.
The supplying of Russian goods to India and vice-versa had suffered a disruption following the launch of Moscow's 'special military operation' in Ukraine on February 24. However, Alipov said that the both countries have "successfully overcome" most of thes barriers and hoped that the Indian exports to Russia (including science-intensive ones) will gain momentum in the near future.
The trade between India and Russia amounted to $6.4 billion from January to April 2022 which is almost twice as much as for the same period last year. Alipov told Sputnik News that if the same momentum is maintained throughout the year, then the turnover of more than $19 billion by the end of 2022 cannot be ruled out.
Russian Ambassador to India Denis Alipov
"The withdrawal of many western companies from the Russian market opens up many new opportunities for Indian businesses. The Russian business community is very serious about strengthening ties with India. Russia invites Indian companies in the aviation and metallurgical industries, in the wood-processing chain, and firms producing consumer goods for business cooperation," he said.
At the same time, following the goals outlined in the India-Russia Summit in December 2021, the two countries are expanding cooperation in communications, diamond processing, forestry, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, tourism, railroads, metallurgy, civil aviation, shipbuilding and oil refining.
"Our military and military-technical cooperation is being strengthened. We are progressively implementing the plans adopted at the 2019 Vladivostok Summit to work together in the Far Eastern and Arctic regions, and we are building up cooperation in the trade, economic, investment, banking and financial sectors," said Alipov.
Russia insists that its partnership with India rests on a deep strategic foundation, drawing its strengths not only from strong historical roots, but also on a coinciding vision of the future world order.
"As you see, the external conjunction is incapable of affecting our relations in any meaningful way. We have regularly seen evidence of this in statements by the Indian leadership in recent months," asserted Alipov.