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Peaceful solution to LAC standoff is inevitable, better sooner than later: Roman Babushkin

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New Delhi: Russia has indicated it may use back-channel negotiations to reduce Sino-Indian tensions while hoping that a peaceful solution to the LAC standoff would happen soon and that it was inevitable. “Russia is in a unique position since it has special and strategic partnership relations with both India and China, and these relationships are independent in nature. We are naturally concerned with India-China current tensions,” deputy envoy Roman Babushkin told a select group of reporters two days after the SCO summit which brought the Indian PM and the Chinese President on the same platform for the first time since the standoff of the two armies in eastern Ladakh. “We believe that peaceful solution is inevitable, better sooner than later…we feel it’s very important to encourage both our Asian friendly countries to be more engaged in a constructive dialogue,” he said.

Babushkin announced that India and Russia plan to increase the range of the Brahmos missiles and begin exporting the missile to “third countries, starting with the Philippines”. “One of the flagship projects is the JV Brahmos, all tests of contemporary versions are successful. Planning to gradually increase the range of these exclusive missiles and, of course, begin exporting to third countries, starting with the Philippines,” Babushkin told a select group of media here close on the heels of SCO summit and ahead of Brics summit next week. Both are held under the Russian presidency in 2020.

A team from Brahmos Aerospace is expected to visit Manila by December to address remaining issues for the deal to supply the missiles, sources indicated to ET. There are reports that the top leaders of India and Philippines could meet early next year and the formal pact on Brahmos could be signed then. India and Russia are planning to develop an advanced version of Indo-Russian cruise missile Brahmos, which will be capable of shooting down airborne warning and control system, indicated diplomatic sources.

Work also is going on the mutual logistics support agreement, strengthening maritime cooperation, including in the Indian Ocean, according to the envoy. This would contribute to the emerging Indo-Russian partnership in the Indo-Pacific region. He also focussed on other aspects of the robust defence ties. “Russia is aiming to ensure a largest participation in the Air-India 2021in Bangalore, which will also see big developments in our defence cooperation. Currently we are aimed at efficient, timely and early implementation of all deals, if expediting requests are coming.

Under the current programme of cooperation, which is due to expand for next 10 years, S-400 ADS contract is one of the most important ones.” AK-203 contract (more than 700 thousand items to be produced at the JV Indo-Russian Rifles in India), $ 2 billion Ka-226 helicopters (140 out of 200 will be produced in India with maximum possible level of localisation) are at the final stages of consideration, Babushkin informed. Advanced cooperation is going on combat aviation (including Su-30MKI programme), main battle tanks (T90), frigates, submarines and missiles, he added.

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