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Russia backs India’s stand, asks Pak to stop infiltration

In a clear support to India’s position on Pakistan, Russia on Monday said any compromise on terrorism while normalizing bilateral ties would be “inadmissible” and asked Islamabad to stop infiltration to neighbouring countries.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who held talks with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on a range of issues including the regional situation, said his country appreciated efforts being made by India and Pakistan to normalize bilateral ties.

“We welcome the position of the two countries to build up ties and solve some problems together. But we think that anything that involves compromise when it comes to terrorism is inadmissible and this is our final position,” Lavrov said at a joint press conference with Krishna.

Lavrov, while responding to a question, said Russia favoured gradual settlement of issues between India and Pakistan and the presence of both the countries as observers in multi-lateral bodies like the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) would help in this direction.

“Our position is that relations between Delhi and Islamabad should be settled gradually and this also will settle one day… I am glad Delhi and Islamabad both are observers (in SCO) and this will be conducive to settlement,” he said, speaking through an interpreter.

Lavrov said Russia, along with the international community, would back Pakistan in its efforts to eradicate hotbeds of terrorism on its soil, to eradicate terrorism in the neighbouring countries and to stop infiltration of terrorism from Pakistan to neighbouring countries.

“We are absolutely supportive of this,” he said.

On Russia’s relations with Pakistan, Lavrov said it was their endeavour to involve its neighbours in collective work and ensure that they do not end up in isolation.

“We believe our contacts with the Pakistani leadership are normal because any normal countru will try to deal with everyone surrounding them and involve them in collective work, he said.

“The alternative to collective work is isolation and when isolation comes, you see a deadlock like in Iraq and the Middle East and we do not want that to happen,” Lavrov said.

Earlier, Krishna and Lavrov discussed issues related to the upcoming visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to India from December 21-22 for the annual summit.

Krishna said, “We discussed the contours of the program of the visit, which will be an extremely important event in our bilateral calendar given that our strategic partnership with Russia is time-tested, solid and enduring.”

Krishna said relations between India and Russia have reached certain new heights and has been mutually beneficial over the past ten years.

The two sides also reviewed the status of a number of documents in the strategic and economic sectors which are expected to be finalised during the Summit.

Lavrov said the two sides had expressed their readiness to implement the agreements reached by the inter-governmental commissions on military, trade, economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation.

“We are discussing the implementation of projects in various sectors, including the creation of a fifth generation fighter plane,” he said in reply to a question.

“We have many projects that cover all spheres of our engagement for example trade, investment, outer space, energy, including nuclear energy. We have military cooperation including the work of the fifth generation fighter aircraft,” Lavrov said.

Krishna and Lavrov also signed the Protocol on the themes of Foreign Office Consultations for 2011-12.

“This document reflects our strategic partnership and the high degree of institutionalised coordination we have on a wide range of foreign policy issues,” he said.

Terming India-Russia relations as time-tested, Krishna said “we have defence cooperation with Russia and we have got our defence equipment from Russia and we will continue to do that depending on the exigencies of the situation”.

He noted that on many situations confronting the world, India and Russia were “more or less on the same page” and the two countries will continue to pursue that line.

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