NEW DELHI: India on Wednesday raised the issue of Russia’s decision to sell Mi-35 attack helicopters to Pakistan during talks between visiting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.
During the meeting lasting over four hours, Russia is said to have assured India that it will never be insensitive to New Delhi’s concerns or do anything which will be detrimental to its interests.
Asked if the issue of sale of Mi-35 helicopters had figured in the talks, ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said it did figure in the context of their defence cooperation talks. Earlier this month, Pakistan said it was negotiating with Russia for the Mi-35s.
He said both sides were “informally agreed” that the bilateral trade “does not reflect the potential and there is need to ramp it up” in all sectors like hydrocarbons, nuclear energy, fertilisers, coking coal, diamonds and Russian investment in infrastructure development.
Both sides have also decided to set up a joint feasibility study on a free trade agreement between India and Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, which have formed the Eurasian Economic Union bloc.
“India sees Russia as a key partner in energy security,” he said. Sushma Swaraj informed the Russian minister that the first unit of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant attained full capacity on June 7. The second unit is to attain criticality at the end of the year. In April this year, India and Russia signed an agreement for building units 3 and 4 of the Kudankulam plant. He said technical issues, relating to seismic studies, of the area in Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu are going on.
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