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Indian envoy dismisses cancellation of Indo-Russian drills

Last Updated: Thursday, June 2, 2011 - 22:06

Moscow: India`s newly appointed Ambassador
Ajai Malhotra has strongly denied media reports about the last
minute cancellation of an annual Indo-Russian drills by Russia
last month when three Indian naval warships had already
reached Vladivostok.

"There was nothing last-minute about the postponement
of the naval exercise. In view of the earthquake in Japan, the
Russians had informed us in mid-March of their decision to
postpone it," Malhotra said.

"This was well over a month before that exercise was
to have been held," Malhotra underlined responding to a
question on calling-off of the bilateral naval and army
exercises Indra-2011.

He said reports about the
postponement of joint army exercise due this month "grossly
over-dramatize a scheduling issue."
"Our defence cooperation is a key element of our
strategic partnership and continues apace," he stressed.

Commenting on the Indian media reports that the
"last-minute" cancellation was a "calculated" snub, two
leading Russian dailies - Vedomosti and Nezavisimaya Gazeta -
yesterday wrote that it was a "stupid" and unintelligent act
by the Russian military, probably caused by the ongoing
restructuring of the armed forces and relocation of Naval
Staff from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

Earlier, Indian Navy spokesperson Commander P V
S Satish said in New Delhi that the "Russian Navy had deployed
some of its warships for rescue efforts in Japan".

"They had already informed us that they will not able
to pledge any warship for the exercise due to their engagement
in Japan," the spokesperson said.

He said that following the communication from Russian
Navy, a decision was taken to dispatch the Indian warships
only for a port call at the Russian port Vladivostok.

Three Indian warships INS Delhi, INS Ranvijay and INS
Ranvir went to Russia in April to participate in the annual


First Published: Thursday, June 2, 2011 - 22:06
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