Dismissing Indian fears over growing Russia-Pakistan relations, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday told an Indian journalist that while his country had a "deep cooperation" with India, that could not preclude ties with other countries.
Speaking to the Press Trust of India, Putin reportedly assured the Indian state-run news agency that Russia's relations with Pakistan will have "no impact on trade between India and Russia."
The Russian president also spoke about the "deep cooperation" his country enjoys with India in areas such as missile technology, asserting that the relationship between the two countries "cannot be diluted."
"There is no other country in the world that we have such deep cooperation [with,]" Putin said.
He added, however, that this "special relationship" between the two countries should not be a restriction on forming contracts with other "partnering countries."
"This is ridiculous," Putin was reported to have said.
When questioned by the Indian journalist about Kashmir, Putin refused to take sides, saying it was not for him to decide whether Pakistan was fuelling terrorism in India-held Kashmir — an allegation India has repeatedly made.
While promising Russian support to India, the Russian president was also reported to have said: "I believe Pakistan is taking immense steps to stabilise the situation in the country."