The joint military exercise last year between Russia & Pakistan at a Cherat-based special forces academy in Pakistan raised concerns in India at the growing military closeness between the two nations. It was termed as ‘Friendship 2016’ by them, & it was the first ever such military exercise between the two countries.
But now Russian officials have informed India that Russia won’t hold any more such exercises with Pakistan in the future. This is a very important event for relations between Russia & India.
Reasons for Russia cancelling future exercises –
- Russia was unhappy with the fact that Pakistan was presenting the exercise in its media & diplomatic circles as it being an ‘anti-India’ exercise. A Russian official conveyed to India that Russia felt that Pakistan was misleading people by portraying the military exercise as an anti-India exercise. The motive of the exercise was only to create better cooperation in anti-terrorist operations. Russia also conveyed that it was never going to harm its relations with India, & this was one reason why it had immediately denied conducting the exercise in PoK.
- India had raised repeated concerns on Russia’s exercise with India’s enemy state Pakistan despite India-Russia’s historic relations. These concerns were raised at the highest level from India’s side. Prime Minister Modi will be visiting Russia from June 1-3 & will be the ‘Guest of Honour’ at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. This move is expected to make his upcoming visit a success where PM Modi will further raise such Pakistan-related concerns directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
As is Pakistan’s habit, it exaggerates every little achievement into something enormous. Theirs was simply an anti-terrorist exercise, but Pakistan’s discourse was as if Russia had completely tilted towards them abandoning India. They even released false news regarding how Russia had joined the CPEC.
Even when it comes to military prowess, Pakistan claims it can defeat India. Again another example of extreme self-glorification to fool its people & to keep the ego of its top military brass intact. Russia also categorically conveyed to India that it won’t sell Pakistan any weapons that might be considered ‘threatening’ to India.
Russia was & continues to remain India’s most significant partner when it comes to defence cooperation. The military collaboration between the two nations is touching new highs with them working to expand the range of the BrahMos missile, India leasing nuclear submarines, co-producing helicopters, & much more.
Both nations need each other equally. India obviously cannot afford dampening of relations because of geopolitical reasons. Even though Russia & China are moving close, Russia remains sceptical of China & if their relations go sour in the future, Russia cannot afford to be in a situation where it is at loggerheads with two rising giants – India & China.