We all deal with what we have in international politics

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said on Monday that India has a substantial inventory of Russian-origin weapons, due to “the preference of Western countries for military dictatorships in the neighbourhood”.

He said this during a joint press briefing with his Australian counterpart Penny Wong in Canberra.

Jaishankar, who is on a visit to Australia, said this in response to a question by an Australian journalist who asked him whether India would reduce its dependence on Russian weapons and reconsider its ties with Russia due to the Ukraine conflict.

Jaishankar said, “We have a substantial inventory of weapons of Soviet and Russian origin. And that list actually grew for a number of reasons. You know, the merits of the weapon systems, but also because for many decades the Western countries have supplied weapons to India. and in fact, saw a military dictatorship next to us as the preferred ally.”

He was referring to the Cold War era when the US preferred to supply arms to Pakistan, which was ruled by military dictators in the 1980s.

The External Affairs Minister further said that India and Russia have a long standing relationship, which has certainly served New Delhi’s interests well.

Jaishankar further said, “We all deal with what we have in international politics, we make decisions that reflect both our future interests as well as our current situation and, in my understanding, this current conflict. In context, as in every military conflict, there are lessons to be learned from it. I am sure my very professional colleagues in the military will be studying it very carefully.”

Last month too, Jaishankar had said during a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that India has the right to choose what it wants to buy in terms of weapons that protect its national interests. PLC/GT

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