Russia-India S-400 air defence systems deal problematic: Pakistan
UNITED NATIONS – Pakistan is concerned about India moving closer to acquiring Russian S-400 air defence systems and urges Moscow not to bet on New Delhi alone, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told Sputnik in an interview.
On Thursday, local media reported that Indian authorities are ready to sign a $5.43 billion contract to purchase five regiments of Russian S-400 Triumph air defence systems.
“That is the problem,” Chaudhry said on Friday when asked what Islamabad thinks of the possible purchase by India. “India is using its might against Pakistan, they are building their power against Pakistan, and that is very unfair. We know that Russia and India have a relationship, but now I think Pakistan is also getting closer to Russia, so Russia should not place its bets on India only.”
Russia and Pakistan’s relationship, Chaudhry added, is improving day by day and Islamabad is looking forward to working closely with Moscow on defence, trade and economic issues.
According to the Times of India media outlet, the Indian Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave consent to the purchase of the Russian air defence systems. The decision was reportedly made ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the country, set for early October.
India could become the third foreign buyer of these systems, following China and Turkey. Also, negotiations on the S-400 deliveries are continuing with Saudi Arabia. The United States voiced its concern over the Indian plans to purchase the S-400 systems, pointing out that sanctions over the deal could not be ruled out.
Responding to a question, Fawad Chaudhry said Pakistan is open to dialogue with India, but believes domestic political affairs in India prevent New Delhi from engaging in cooperation.
“Internal politics of India forced Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi to withdraw from acceptance of dialogue, but we want dialogue,” Chaudhry said on Friday.
He explained that when Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan took office he said he wanted to normalise relations with India. “This offer was accepted, but just within 24 hours the group within the ruling party forced Prime Minister Modi to withdraw from this acceptance,” the minister added.
“We stand for peace, and we offered talks to resolve our issues. India and Pakistan have been fighting on the issue of Kashmir for seven decades. Now there is an uprising in Kashmir against the Indian rule,” Chaudhry said, adding “It depends on India. We are open for talks.”
To another question, the minister said Pakistan is uncertain about whether the United States will resume its aid to the country and sees US policy in Afghanistan as confusing.
“Right now we are not certain about that,” Chaudhry said when asked about the prospects of resumption of US funding.
Chaudhry said the US decision to suspend aid illustrates how Washington seems to contradict itself in the region. “The US is running a confusing policy in Afghanistan. One side of the political establishment says they are going out of Afghanistan, other groups within the US establishment don’t want to leave Afghanistan. So when you are confused, what you do is you try to blame others for your failures,” he added.