Clearing up speculation over his country’s recent military exercise with Pakistan, Russian ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin categorically welcomed Indian raids on terrorist launch pads across the LoC.
In a strong endorsement of the Indian action that goes beyond the American statements and extends Pakistan’s isolation beyond south Asia, Kadakin said every country had the right to act in self-defence and called on Islamabad to act against cross-border terrorism.
Kadakin said the exercise with Pakistan was in fact intended to encourage that country not to target its neighbour.
“India should not be concerned about military exercises between Russia and Pakistan because the theme of the exercise is anti-terror fighting. That’s in India’s interests that we teach Pakistani army not to use itself for terror attacks against India”.
And the exercise was not held in any sensitive or problematic territories like the Pakistan-occupied Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir,” said the Russian ambassador.
“We welcome the surgical strike. Every country has right to defend itself,” Kadakin was quoted as having told a news channel.
Russia had earlier issued a statement asking Pakistan to take “effective steps” to check terrorist activities on its soil. After the Uri attack, it had said: “Regarding the Pathankot Indian air base attack in January 2016, we are very concerned about the terrorist attacks near the Line of Control. We are also concerned about the fact that, according to New Delhi, the Army base near Uri was attacked from Pakistani territory.”
Russia had raised some concern in Delhi with its anti-terror exercise in Pakistan coming at a time when India was looking to diplomatically isolate Pakistan on the issue of terrorism.
However, Russia had even then sought to assuage India’s apprehensions by saying the exercise would not take place in areas that are subject to a dispute between India and Pakistan.
This was the first such military exercise between the two countries in Pakistan. Kadakin, however, said Russia had only acted in India’s interests by conducting the exercise with Pakistan.
In its statement last week, Russia had said it was concerned with the aggravation of the situation along the LoC between India and Pakistan. It called for the parties not to allow any escalation of tension and to settle the existing problems by political and diplomatic means through negotiations.
“We stand for decisive struggle against terrorism in all its manifestations. We expect the government of Pakistan to take effective steps in order to stop the activities of terrorists’ groups in the territory of the country,” it had said.