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In recent weeks, New Delhi has expressed its displeasure to Moscow. The main bone of contention is Russia’s decision to hold its first ever military exercises with Pakistan, a country India blames for harbouring terrorists responsible for the recent Uri attack. “We have conveyed our views to the Russian side that military cooperation with Pakistan, which is a state that sponsors and practices terrorism as a matter of state policy, is a wrong approach. It will only create further problems,” said Indian Ambassador to Russia Pankaj Saran. Does this mark a significant change in Indo-Russia ties? The answer is unlikely. India’s relationship with Russia remains all-encompassing, even though trade between the countries dropped by 7.8 percent in 2015. Despite the downturn in bilateral trade, both nations have maintained an active military and technological partnership for decades. Even though the nature of these defence deals is changing with America’s growing influence, India remains the largest importer of Russian weapons. According to the Center for Analyses of World Arms Trade, Russian- and Soviet-made arms account for about 70 percent of the Indian defence forces' entire arsenal. Energy is also another central element in Indo-Russia ties. In nuclear power, there is the Kudankulam nuclear plant that India built with Russia’s help. Moscow hopes to enhance technological cooperation in the field of uranium enrichment further. Following the successful completion of the purchase of stakes in two oil and gas fields in Russia, Indian oil companies are eyeing more fields in Siberia, reported Sputnik News, the online news and radio broadcast service established by the Russian government. Moreover, New Delhi is well aware that Russia had largely stood by India in the past when the US and their Western allies thought it wise to back Pakistan. Despite his recent pro-US tilt, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is unlikely to jeopardise this relationship. “We see no changes here. On the contrary, this has only strengthened in all areas, including in the field of military and technical cooperation. This partnership is an anchor of peace and stability in the region and the world," Saran added. Russian President Vladimir Putin sang the same tune on Thursday and said India was Russia’s especially privileged strategic partner. Despite the bonhomie on display, it isn’t hard to gauge why Russia has chosen to abandon its anti-Pakistan policy. Scholars on the subject contend that the reason is two-fold—fears about the spread trans-national terror (ISIS), and Moscow’s growing belief that India has drawn too close to the US, especially after the recent military logistics agreement. On Saturday, Modi and Putin will conduct their meetings during the BRICS summit in Goa this weekend, and air each other's misgivings.
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