A file picture of Russian President Vladimir Putin (back) being welcomed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (front) in New Delhi, India, 04 October 2018. EPA/EFE/FILE/MIKHAIL METZEL / KREMLIN POOL/SPUTNIK / POOL MANDATORY CREDIT[MANDATORY CREDIT]

India, Russia discuss expansion of defense ties

New Delhi, Apr 28 (EFE).- Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, in New Delhi on Friday to discuss issues of bilateral defense cooperation, including military ties, between these two historic allies.

“The two Ministers discussed wide-ranging issues of bilateral defence cooperation, including military-to-military ties as well as industrial partnership,” the Press Information Bureau of the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said in a statement.

“They also discussed the Russian defence industry’s participation in the ‘Make in India’ initiative and ways to provide further impetus to it,” the statement added.

The meeting, which took place on the sidelines of the meeting of defense heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the Indian capital, also served to reiterate their “commitment towards strengthening the partnership.”

India maintains a close alliance with Moscow, one of its main suppliers of military equipment and from whom it continues to buy part of its oil despite international sanctions and pressures.

India purchases 60-70 percent of its military equipment from Russia, which also holds a certain influence over China, one of its main adversaries.

This, according to analysts, explains New Delhi’s tacit support for Russia at the international stage, especially its neutrality in the Ukraine conflict and its refusal to condemn the Russian invasion at the United Nations.

Instead, India has adopted an ambiguous stance, calling for peace and an end to the conflict through dialogue.

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, several Russian ministers have visited India, including Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. EFE