He highlighted the privileged strategic partnership between the two nations before he left to meet his Russian counterpart.
India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh left for Russia on September 2, 2020 for a three-day visit to hold talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu on further boosting bilateral defence cooperation and also to attend a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).The Minister is on the visit to Moscow on Shoigu’s invitation.
Heading to Moscow. During this visit, I shall be attending the combined meeting of Defence Ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) & CIS members in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of victory in the World War II.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) September 2, 2020
“I shall also be meeting Russia’s Defence Minister, General Shoigu to discuss bilateral cooperation and issues of mutual interest, India and Russia are privileged Strategic Partners. Looking forward to further this partnership during my visit,” Rajnath Singh tweeted.
It is the Defence Minister’s second visit since June when he visited Moscow and had represented India at the Victory Day Parade held in Moscow on June 24, 2020 that commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War.
“Excellent meeting with the Russian Defence Minister General Sergey Shoigu in Moscow today. We talked about a wide range of issues, particularly how to deepen defence and strategic cooperation between both the countries,” stated Singh.
Rajnath Singh met General Shoigu in Moscow on Friday, September 4, 2020, wherein the duo reportedly discussed about strengthening defence and strategic cooperation between both the two countries. “Excellent meeting with the Russian Defence Minister General Sergey Shoigu in Moscow today. We talked about a wide range of issues, particularly how to deepen defence and strategic cooperation between both the countries,” stated Singh.
It was also reported that Singh appreciated steadfast support provided by Russia, consistent with India’s defence and security needs and in this context, particularly noted the timely manner in which Russia had responded to requests for procurement of particular weapon systems.
According to a tweet by Russian Embassy in India, Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu thanked Defence Minister of India Rajnath Singh for visiting Moscow in June and highlighted colossal potential of collaboration between Russia and India.
Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu thanked Defence Minister of India Rajnath Singh for visiting Moscow in June and highlighted colossal potential of collaboration between #Russia and #India. Military and military & technical cooperation were discussed. pic.twitter.com/Y3y7jM4Oxi— Russia in India (@RusEmbIndia) September 3, 2020
“The time tested India-Russia relationship is based on unparalleled mutual trust and respect, common interests and concurrence on fundamental issues of global affairs.The dynamism of the India-Russia relationship has propelled the bilateral cooperation beyond the traditional areas to almost all sectors of the economy benefitting the people of both countries,” he added.
Sergey also stated that Russia and India act as equal partners in world affairs. “Our countries favour formation of multipolar democratic system of international relations, based on strict compliance with legal norms and central role of the UN,” he added during the meeting with Singh on September 3, 2020.
During his meeting with Shoigu, Singh pressed for expediting supply of a number of weapons systems, ammunition and spares to India by Russia under contracts concluded earlier. In October 2018, India had signed a USD 5 billion deal with Russia to buy five units of the S-400 air defence missile systems.The delivery of the first batch of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to India is scheduled by the end of 2021.
India-Russia naval drills
The Defence Ministry of India also noted that this meeting is coinciding with Indra Naval Exercises which are being conducted by Indian and Russia navies off the Straits of Malacca. Singh noted that these exercises demonstrated common interests of both countries in maritime security in Indian Ocean Region. The Russian-Indian naval drills took place in the Andaman Sea on September 4-5.
#INDRA_NAVY-20— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) September 4, 2020
Curtain Raiser.#BridgesofFriendship#Interoperability#IndianNavy #RussianNavy#MaritimeOperations@SpokespersonMoD@DefenceMinIndia@MEAIndia @IndEmbMoscow @DDNewslive @RusEmbIndia@PIB_India @PBNS_India @MIB_India https://t.co/uJ9tbeAlnY pic.twitter.com/v6nIs3Fs0T
The Russian Pacific Fleet’s naval group comprising the large anti-submarine warfare ships Admiral Tributs and Admiral Vinogradov and the large sea tanker Boris Butoma of the Pacific Fleet, based at Vladivostok is reported to be currently on its deployment in the region.
The Indian Embassy in Moscow tweeted, “Non-contact at sea only Indra Navy 2020 is indicative of the flexible approach in our special and privileged strategic partnership to overcome challenges of COVID.”
The primary aim of exercise Indra Navy-20 is to further consolidate inter-operability built up by the two navies over the years and also to enhance understanding and procedures for multi-faceted maritime operations. Due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the exercise would be undertaken in a ‘non-contact, at sea only’ format.
This is the 11th edition of the exercise Indra Navy, a biennial bilateral maritime exercise between Indian Navy & Russian Navy, tweeted Indian Navy.
Initiated in 2003, this exercise epitomises the long-term strategic relationship between the two navies. This exercise has matured over the years with increase in scope, complexity of operations, and level of participation. The primary aim of exercise Indra Navy-20 is to further consolidate inter-operability built up by the two navies over the years and also to enhance understanding and procedures for multi-faceted maritime operations. The scope of this edition includes wide-ranging and diverse activities across the spectrum of maritime operations. Due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the exercise would be undertaken in a ‘non-contact, at sea only’ format.
The Indian Navy will be represented by guided missile destroyer Ranvijay, indigenous frigate Sahyadri and fleet tanker Shakti, along with their integral helicopters. Sahyadri has been presently redeployed to provide assistance to MT New Diamond, which has caught fire off the coast of Sri Lanka.
The exercise between the two navies involved surface and anti-aircraft drills, firing exercises, helicopter operations, seamanship evolutions etc. The last edition of the exercise was conducted off Visakhapatnam in December 2018. Indra Navy-20 will help to further boost mutual confidence and cooperation between the two Navies and would reinforce the long-standing bond of friendship between the two countries.
Defence Minister’s journey while in Moscow
Upon reaching Moscow, the Defence Minister also paid tribute to the Father of the nation by offering flowers to Mahatma Gandhi statue at the Indian Embassy in Russia.
He also visited the Main Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces and the Museum Complex, ‘Memory Road’ in Moscow on September 4, 2020.The museum features gallant deeds of Indian armymen during World War II (1939-1945) Hav. G. Singh & Sub. NR Nikkam, who were awarded Order of Red Star in 1944 by USSR for their contribution to defeating the Nazis.
The same day, Singh also paid tributes to the fallen soldiers by laying of flowers at the Monument to the Mothers of Winners in Moscow.
The Defence Minster also planted a sapling during his visit to the Garden of Peace at the complex of Main Cathedral of the Russian Federation.