PM Modi's two-day visit to Russia on September 4 and 5 will open a "new chapter" in already tight ties between Moscow and New Delhi, as both sides will look at expanding cooperation in a plethora of areas, including defence, trade, civil nuclear energy and hydrocarbons, the Russia envoy in India Nikolay Kudashev stated on Wednesday
During his visit to Russia, PM Modi will attend the Easten Economic Forum in Vladivostok and will hold the annual bilateral summit with the President of Russia Vladimir Putin.
At a press conference, the Russia envoy said the summit between PM Modi and Vladimir Putin will lay a solid ground for exploration and promotion of a new dimension of the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.
Another Russia official said that New Delhi and Moscow are working towards finalisation of an agreement for setting up six more civil nuclear reactors in India, apart from the Kudankulam project. Under the Kudankulam project, Russia is building six nuclear reactors in India.
On the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the envoy said Russia is strongly backing India's position on abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution and that New Delhi and Islamabad should resolve the outstanding issues through dialogue, based on the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration.
He said, "It is crystal clear that it belongs to Indian public, its decision to India's constitution, it is sovereign decision of Indian government. It is a constitutional matter of India and that it internal matter of India. sovereign decision of Indian government, it's an internal matter of India. All issues existing between India & Pakistan should be resolved through dialogue on the basis of Shimla agreement & Lahore declaration." Roman Babushkin, Deputy Chief of Russian Embassy in India added: "Russia has no role to play in India-Pakistan dispute, unless both ask for mediation. During the closed-door event at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), we reiterated that Kashmir is an internal issue of India."
NSA Ajit Doval visited Moscow last week on the invitation of his counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Russian National Security Council and elaborately dicussed regional cooperation. Russia's deputy permanent representative, Dimitry Polyanskiy told reporters before entering the closed door meeting of the UN that Moscow's view is that it is a "bilateral issue" between India and Pakistan. He said the meeting was being held to understand what is happening.
"That's what closed consultations are for. What does Russia think the next step should be- we favour bilateral track between india and Pakistan. You know our position. It hasn't changed. Today we have closed consultations and we will just exchange opinions and see what we can do and what we cannot do. It is a normal process." When asked if Russia was concerned over the tense situation between India and Pakistan, Polyanskiy said, "we are very much concerned. We hope to avoid it. Asked if the Council can play a useful role, he replied, "We first need to discuss and then we'll see." Replying to another question, he said, "sometimes it is better not to touch upon such an issue. It's a bilateral issue," the Russian diplomat said.
Vladimir Putin-led Russian government's support to India comes despite Pakistan's efforts to seek backing from the global community over Kashmir.
(With PTI inputs)