India downplays Russia-Pak energy deal

India downplays Russia-Pak energy dealNEW DELHI: India today downplayed the Russia- Pakistan energy deal worth USD 1.7 billion, saying Moscow has assured that it will not do anything that will adversely impact the country’s security interests.

When asked about the deal, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said India and Russia have a strategic and privileged relationship.

“India and Russia have just concluded a very very successful summit where we have been assured that nothing that Russia does will adversely impact on our security interest.

“Therefore we are confident that our concerns on this matter are understood well by our Russian friends and they will not do anything that adversely impinges on us,” he said.

For the first time, Pakistan and Russia have signed an energy deal worth USD 1.7 billion to lay a gas pipeline from Karachi to Lahore. Pakistan and Russia on November 20 had signed a military cooperation agreement to deepen their defense ties.

Replying to a question on India’s position on Palestine issue, the spokesperson said there was no change in government’s policy of extending support to the Palestinian cause.

“There is no change in our policy of extending traditionally strong support for the Palestinian cause while maintaining good relations with Israel,” he said.

He also referred to a policy statement by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Parliament in July. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his message to the UN on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people last month had also reiterated India’s support to the cause.

Asked about an Indian school teacher who was jailed in Maldives, the Spokesperson said he has been deported to India.

“We have been able to get the Maldivian government to release the person who has been deported. He landed last night and is back with the family,” he said.

On whether the Ministry of External Affairs has written to the Ministry of Home Affairs on extraditing Purulia arms drop case accused Kim Davy, he refused to give details.

“Kim Davy for us is a terrorist… We will go after anybody who harmed security of India,” he said.

Asked about the Italian marines issue, he said the judiciary will take an independent view on it.

“While the executive may have a view and may consider various options, ultimately this matter is sub-judice and will have to go through the process and understanding of the judiciary,” he said.

Replying to a question on the fishermen issue, he said around 700 fishermen have come back from Sri Lanka since beginning of the year and efforts are on to secure release of rest of them.–PTI

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