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New Delhi: India has "longstanding and legacy relationship" with Russia and America's increased cooperation with New Delhi is not an effort to "push anybody else out", US officials said on Monday.

"With respect to Russia... India has a longstanding relationship with Russia," Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters at a news conference here on the second day of President Barack Obama's India visit to attend the Republic Day celebrations.

"India will continue to have relations with Russia, but we believe that it's important for us to be representing democratic values. We are proud that we're increasing our cooperation with India in a lot of areas, but we're not doing that in an effort to push anybody else out of India.

"We're doing that because we believe it's in our interest and in India's interest," he said in response to a question.

The United States is quickly moving towards surpassing Russia as a defence exporter to India, he added.

"So that balance has shifted over (the) years. India obviously has a longstanding defence relationship with Russia, but our relationship is on the upswing," he said.

"So we're very confident in the increasing defence ties, even though we recognise there's a longstanding and legacy relationship with Russia. Which, by the way, is part of... A Cold War context. That has been in the past part of the source of difference and mistrust between our two countries. We're moving beyond that," he observed.

Rhodes said the US President was not uncomfortable when Russia-made military equipment passed through him during the Republic Day Parade.

"In terms of the President's view, I think what's important is not so much what is the particular float or military item that goes past the President in a parade; it is what is the system that is embraced by the country that the President is visiting," he said.

"Here in India you have the largest democracy in the world; they just had the largest democratic election that's ever been held. And so they set an example to the world that you can be strong and you can have a growing economy and you can lift tens, if not hundreds of millions of people out of poverty through a democratic system.

"I think that's what ultimately is important," Rhodes said.

"Lots of countries have big militaries; lots of countries have military parades. I think what the President is comfortable with is the fact that this is a democracy and that its strength, India's emerging strength, is buttressed by those democratic values.

"And that was part of their discussion yesterday, the fact that in today's world, the ability for two democracies of our size to be cooperating together sets a positive example," Rhodes said.


From Zee News

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