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Russia backs India’s anti-terror surgical strikes: India

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Benaulim (Goa), 15 Oct : Russia has backed India’s cross-border surgical strikes at terror launch pads in Pakistan-administered Kashmir after the September 18 Uri attack at a military base, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hinted on Saturday, calling Moscow “an old friend” that has mirrored New Delhi’s stand on terrorism.

In a joint media conference with visiting President Vladimir Putin, Modi said he deeply appreciated Russia’s support of “our actions to fight cross-border terrorism that threatens our entire region”.

Modi didn’t name Pakistan or mention the September 29 cross-border raids by elite Indian commandos. But a joint statement issued after his meeting with Putin said that the President “reaffirmed Russia’s continued commitment… and noted the commonality of positions of both the countries on issues (like) war on terrorism”.

Asked if Modi’s remarks pertain to the surgical strikes by the Indian Army, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, in a separate news conference, referred to the joint statement that said “the Indian side expressed its appreciation for Russia’s unequivocal condemnation of the terrorist attack on (the) army base in Uri”.

The Uri carnage by suspected Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists that left 19 Indian soldiers dead provoked India’s cross-border assault that killed an unspecified number of terrorists and their sympathisers and destroyed at least seven terror launch pads.

Modi and Putin “strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and emphasised the necessity of comprehensive international collaboration in order to ensure its eradication”, the joint statement said.

“They stressed the need to deny safe havens to terrorists and the importance of countering the spread of terrorist ideology as well as radicalisation leading to terrorism, stopping recruitment, preventing travel of terrorists and foreign terrorist fighters,” it said, an obvious reference to Pakistan.

With President Putin standing next to him, Modi told reporters that “Russia’s clear stand on the need to combat terrorism mirrors our own”.

The Prime Minister’s remarks are significant as India has launched a diplomatic blitz to isolate Pakistan, a country it accuses of sponsoring and aiding cross-border terrorism.

Following India’s diplomatic war, Islamabad denied an imminent global isolation and said its stand vis-a-vis Kashmir was backed by China and Russia.

Prime Minister Modi hailed Russia as “an old friend of India” and said the ties between the two countries were “truly privileged and unique”.

He praised Putin’s continuous personal attention on strengthening bilateral ties.

“Your personal attention has been a source of strength to our relationship, your leadership provided stability and substance to our strategic partnership. Ours is a truly privileged relationship,” Modi said after “highly productive” talks with Putin.

The two leaders also inaugurated units 3 and 4 of the Kudankulam nuclear plant after India and Russia signed 16 agreements, including on energy, defence and economic cooperation, and also announced three deals across different sectors.

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