New Delhi, December 23: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), in a statement issued on Wednesday, dismissed reports that speculated a lull in India-Russia ties. The speculations were made after the India-Russia joint summit, scheduled to be held this year, was deferred for the first time in over two decades.
The Ministry's clarification came shortly after senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi slammed the Narendra Modi-led government, suggesting that it has downgraded ties with one of India's most-trusted allies. Modi, Putin Stress on Strengthening India-Russia Ties to Jointly Address Post COVID-19 Challenges.
MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the speculations were baseless as the onset of pandemic was the only reason for postponing the summit. The decision, he added, wa taken mutually by the governments in New Delhi and Moscow.
"India-Russia Annual Summit didn't take place in 2020 due to COVID pandemic. This was a mutually agreed decision between the two govts. Any imputation otherwise is false and misleading. Spreading false stories in important relationships is particularly irresponsible," he said.
See Rahul Gandhi's Tweet
Russia is a very important friend of India.
Damaging our traditional relationships is short-sighted and dangerous for our future. pic.twitter.com/U5VyFWeS6L
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) December 23, 2020
"Russia is a very important friend of India. Damaging our traditional relationships is short-sighted and dangerous for our future," the former Congress president said.
Reports earlier today linked the postponement of India-Russia bilateral summit to the growing defence ties between New Delhi and Washington, and the emphasis laid by Indian government towards Quad -- a loosely stitched coalition being planned by India, the US, Australia and Japan. The MEA has called such speculations "irresponsible".