New Delhi [India], December 6 (ANI): Referring to China's increased military aggression, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the expansion of armament in our neighbourhood and the completely unprovoked aggression on our northern border have thrown in several challenges but India is confident of overcoming these challenges with the strong political will and inherent capability of its people.
In his opening remarks at the 21st India- Russia Annual Summit meeting on Monday, Rajnath said, "The COVID-19 pandemic, the extra-ordinary militarization and expansion of armament in our neighbourhood and the completely unprovoked aggression on our northern border since early summer of 2020 have thrown in several challenges.""India is confident of overcoming these challenges with the strong political will and inherent capability of its people. Recognizing that its development needs are colossal and that its defence challenges are legitimate, real and immediate, India seeks partners who are sensitive and responsive to India's expectations and requirements," he said.
Describing the first-ever 22 interministerial dialogue between India and Russian as a historic meeting, Rajnath said: "the emerging challenges India is confronted with and the enhanced requirement of India for closer military and military-technical cooperation with Russia were discussed during his meeting with the Russian Defence Minister earlier in the day."The Indian side was headed by Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar at the 22 interministerial meeting while the Russian side was led by Russian Defence Minister General Sergey Shoigu and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov.
Rajnath Singh appreciated the fact that despite all these challenges, India-Russia defence engagements progressed in an unprecedented manner in recent times.
He recalled his visits twice to Moscow and once to Dushanbe to participate in the celebrations for victory in the Great Patriotic War and in two rounds of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers' meeting.
The Defence Minister added that the officers and soldiers of India not only marched shoulder to shoulder with the Russian troops in honour of those fallen in the Second World War, but also participated in a substantial manner in major exercises and activities undertaken at Russia's initiative.
The Raksha Mantri expressed hope that Russia will remain a major partner for India in these changing circumstances.
"From Ministry of Defence, we have urged for greater military-technical collaboration, advanced research, co-development and co-production of defence equipment leading to self-reliance of India. Separately, we proposed greater engagements in Central Asia and the Indian Ocean region," he said.
Rajnath Singh added that India is a continuation of the vast Eurasian landmass and at the same time central in the enormous Indian Ocean region. He hoped for Russia's cooperation in all domains. (ANI)