Russian weapons will be put to the Himalayas

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Russian weapons will be put to the Himalayas 28.09.2016 16:02

On the eve of the visit by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to India, who will participate in the BRICS forum and hold a summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, relations between Moscow and New Delhi have undergone an unprecedented test. The first in the history of Russian-Pakistani exercise "Friendship-2016" starting on September 23 will become strong irritant, which will be held in the part of Kashmir controlled by Islamabad - Delhi considers it as its "occupied territory." According to sources, close to the government of Narendra Modi, the Indian side considers the "Friendship-2016" as the actual Moscow's recognition of the sovereignty of Pakistan over the disputed areas in Kashmir. Interviewees experts of "Kommersant" say: the consequence can become a cooling of Russian-Indian relations, with the status of "privileged strategic partnership, military-technical ties" will suffer the greatest damage to the

 

In the darkness of Kashmir

After a brief warming in relations between India and Pakistan - the two nuclear powers of South Asia who fought three times in their history – the relations have extremely deteriorated on the night of September 18th. The group of militants attacked a camp of Indian infantry battalion in the town of Uri, Baramulla District, in the border with Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir. Reliance on the suddenness and the choice for the dark time of day the attack worked on well. 18 soldiers sleeping in tents were terrorists' victims, another 30 were injured.

In this regard, the largest in recent years, the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir, India Radzhnath Interior Minister Singh was forced to cancel his five-day visit to Moscow, which was to begin yesterday. According to the source "Kommersant" in Delhi, during the visit of one of the leading Indian security officials planned to bring to Moscow a growing concern about the government of Narendra Modi sharp intensification of military-technical cooperation between Russia and Pakistan, and plans to sell advanced weapons to Islamabad.

The head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of India still unable to get to Moscow nonetheless sent an unequivocal message to the Russian colleagues and the world community. Commenting on the massacre in Uri, he laid a direct responsibility on Islamabad, calling Pakistan a "terrorist state" and called for its international isolation. In turn, the Ministry of Defense of India reported: assault was committed by the "foreign fighters" from the group Jaish-e-Muhammad, acting on the territory of both the Indian and the Pakistani part of divided Kashmir.

The situation in Kashmir after the attack in Uri was discussed at yesterday's emergency meeting of the Indian Government. According to leaks that have got in the media, the Indian military offer "limited retaliatory strikes" with the use of heavy weapons along the 778-kilometer long "line of control", the de facto role of performing the border between the two states.

Terrorist attack in Uri condemned the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the leading world powers, including Russia. In a statement released yesterday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on "continuing support for the Government of India's efforts to fight terrorism" and expressed concern that, according to information Delhi, "the attack was carried out from the territory of Pakistan."

Islamabad, however, does not intend to make excuses and leave in a diplomatic defense. "Pakistan is deeply concerned provocative stream of baseless accusations by the Indian leadership," - commented Delhi's reaction to the events in Uri advisor to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Sartaj Aziz. Moreover, he allowed himself a direct attack against Delhi, calling the act of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, "the attack on the Indian occupation forces in Uri sector of Indian-occupied Kashmir."

In Islamabad warned: Kashmir will be the main theme of the speech Prime Minister Sharif at the opening in New York, the UN General Assembly. Pakistan blames India's illegal occupation of Kashmir and massive human rights violations in an attempt to provide a counter external pressure on Delhi

 

Who quarrels "Friendship-2016"

Events in Jammu and Kashmir have put Delhi and Islamabad to the brink of a new conflict occurred on the eve of the first in the history of Russian-Pakistani exercise "Friendship-2016", which will be held from September 23 to October 10 at the border with India and Afghanistan highlands of Pakistan. As the message of the press service of the Southern Military District (Southern Military District) of the Russian Federation, the venue of the exercise, in which about 200 Russian and Pakistani troops will take part, will become military mountain training school in Ratti and training center for special forces in Cherat. On the Russian side in the exercises will involve 70 officers and men of the 34th Motorized Infantry (mountain) brigade stationed in Karachay-Cherkessia. Following the clarification of the Russian and Pakistani military exercises aim will be the exchange of experience of warfare in the mountains, in particular the destruction of illegal armed groups. "The exercises are aimed at strengthening military cooperation between Russia and Pakistan," - was said in a statement the press service of the Southern Military District.

The first report about the upcoming exercises appeared in January - "the first in the history of the two countries' military maneuvers in the mountainous terrain," announced Commander of Land Forces of the Russian Federation Oleg Salyukov. However, until the end of summer, the time of their conduct was not determined and no details were disclosed. Plan maneuvers code-named "Friendship-2016" was concretized after held in late August visit to Islamabad, Chief of Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov and his talks with Pakistani counterpart Mahmoud Rashad. General Gerasimov called the development of military-technical ties with Pakistan, "an important factor for regional stability and international security." He informed about the planned sharp revival of military-technical cooperation within the framework of which will be carried out joint maneuvers.

Apparently, the "Friendship-2016" should be an illustration of the new trends in Russian-Pakistani relations. At the same time Moscow does not confuse the fact that the exercise will be completed in less than a week before the planned visit of President Vladimir Putin to India, which not only take part in the summit of the BRICS in Goa, and will hold on October 15 a summit meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The first signs of growing discontent with the Indian side intensification of military-technical cooperation between Moscow and Islamabad appeared at the end of August. Newspaper The Economic Times, citing a senior source in the Modi government said that "India has informed Russia of the concerns regarding plans sale of four military helicopters to Pakistan, as well as joint exercises with the Pakistani army". According to the newspaper, New Delhi hopes that "Moscow will not take steps that would inflict damage to India's security."

Director of the Second Department of the RF Foreign Ministry Zamir Kabulov tried to repay passion. "The Indian side expressed its concern over the fact that the exercise may take place in Pakistan in the territories which, in terms of Delhi, are controversial. We have received information from the Ministry of Defense of Russia, that these exercises will not be held in such territories, and a place has been selected that has nothing to do with this (disputed territories)", - quotes Zamira Kabulova "RIA Novosti".

 

Russian bear and the Indian elephant

However, Moscow's explanations do not satisfy the Indian side. "It is easy enough to check on what areas the exercises will take place. It is enough to look at the map to make sure that Rattu is located in Gilgit-Baltistan, which the Indian side since 1947 - the time division of British India into India and Pakistan - considers the occupied part of Kashmir" - said the "Kommersant" based in New Delhi, Vice-President of the Observer Research Foundation Nandan Unnikrishnan.

In turn, the source of "Kommersant" in New Delhi, close to the government of Narendra Modi, said: "In the case of the" Friendship-2016 "in Rattu the Indian side will be forced to regard it as a de facto recognition of Pakistan's sovereignty by Moscow over disputed areas in Kashmir - the first in the history of bilateral relations". Recall that Islamabad calls the Gilgit-Baltistan region an integral part of the Northern Areas of Pakistan.

"If the exercises in the occupied by Pakistan part of Kashmir are held, it will significantly reduce the level of Russian-Indian relations", - explained the "Kommersant" an Indian analyst Radzheshvari Rajagopalan the possible consequences.

Russian experts regard the plans to carry out exercises "Friendship-2016" as an attempt to counterbalance Russian relations in the triangle Moscow - Islamabad - Beijing (Pakistan and China are developing close military cooperation, as opposed to its antagonist India). The "Kommersant" interviewees have warned that such a course could suffer a setback. "To carry out such a policy of balancing between India, Pakistan and China, without any drawback to its interests in Asia can afford only the US as the only superpower, Russia also needs to be aware of the inevitable costs," - said the director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Ruslan Pukhov. According to Mr. Pukhov, the special sensitivity of the issue is determined by the fact that "Kashmir to the Indian public opinion is something like the Donbass for many Russians."

"Kommersant" interviewees’ experts in Moscow and New Delhi predict that India in any case will not give up cooperation with Russia in those situations when it will meet its vital interests and there will be no alternative to the suggestions of Moscow. However, over time the relationship with India may lose the current status of "privileged strategic partnership", allowing Moscow to receive an unambiguous political support on issues such as the Crimea and anti-Russian sanctions. The greatest damage may be caused to the military-technical ties: having an alternative to the Russian proposals, Delhi may well make a choice not in favor of Moscow - in contrast to past practice.

Sergey Strokanj

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