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Russian-Deputy-Prime-Minister-Dmitry-Rogozin-670-afp
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. — File Photo by AFP

NEW DELHI: Russia has assured India it will not sell any arms to Pakistan, a clarification delivered through the media ahead of President Vladimir Putin’s visit to New Delhi in November, local reports said on Monday.

“We are always cooperating with India to ensure safety of the region. We never created trouble for India in the region as compared to other countries. If someone says otherwise, spit in his face,” The Hindu quoted Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin as saying on Sunday.

“We don’t do military business with your enemies. We don’t transfer any arms to them,” he told journalists after arriving here on Sunday to co-chair the India-Russia Inter-governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC) with India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.

It was a run-up to Mr. Putin’s first visit to South Asia in his third term as Russian President. Separate Indian reports have suggested that Mr Putin postponed a landmark October visit to Pakistan at New Delhi’s behest.

“Mr Rogozin was clearing the air on several high-level engagements with Pakistan in recent times, which has led to talk about a reset in Russia-Pakistan ties,” The Hindu said.

While Mr Putin cancelled his Islamabad visit last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held consultations with the Pakistani leadership. Around the same time, Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited Moscow, Indian reports recalled.

The two countries appear to be in a bind over a nuclear plant in India’s southern Kundankulam town. Russia does not want the civil nuclear liability law to apply to the proposed units 3 and 4. India has not applied the law to units 1 and 2.

The exemption is being challenged in the Supreme Court. The first two were constructed under an agreement that predated the 2010 civil liability law.

But India is against exempting units 3 and 4 because this will be seen as discriminating against companies from the US and France.