RAKSHA Mantri Rajnath Singh set to visit Russia sparking speculation in political, diplomatic circles

Amit Shah gets home ministry, Rajnath Singh defence in PM Modi's new  cabinet - india news - Hindustan Times

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s three -day visit to Russia from June 22  assumes significance amidst  Sino-India clashes on LAC in East Ladakh’s Golan Valley. As per official statement, he will be in Russia to attend a grand military parade in Moscow to mark the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Germany in the Second World War. However, the fact which cannot be overlooked is that Russia is among the nations which have officially declared that all matters related to Jammu & Kashmir are India’s internal issues and frustrated repeated attempts by Pakistan to get New Delhi censured at the United Nations and other international forums after the withdrawal of special status from the northern state. Indian sources alleged that Pakistan is promoted to indulge in anti-India activities at the instance of Beijing. Officials said Rajnath Singh is going ahead with the visit, notwithstanding the border row with China, due to India’s decades-old military ties with Russia. “I wish a safe journey to Defence Minister of strategic partner India @rajnathsingh who is scheduled to depart to Moscow on Monday to witness the Great Victory Day Military Parade on June 24,” Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kardashev has tweeted. The parade was originally scheduled on May 9, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Anyway, his talks with senior  Russian leaders and programs there will be keenly watched by Chinese leaders and diplomatic circles. It is, however, no secret that both India and Russia are keen on strengthening their cooperation in varied fields. HT  says it was originally expected that defence secretary Ajay Kumar would accompany defence minister Rajnath Singh to Russia, but the defence minister is now expected to travel with senior defence and military officials as Kumar is recovering from Covid-19. Sources said the visit will be closely linked to developments on the Line of Actual Control where Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a tense standoff since early May. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in a violent face-off with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley on June 15. A high-level Chinese delegation will also be present as in previous years for the Victory Day Parade though no meetings are expected with the Indian team. Defence Minister’s visit will be closely linked to developments on the Line of Actual Control where Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a tense standoff since early May. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in a violent face-off with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley on the night of  June 15 for several hours. A high-level Chinese delegation will be present for the Victory Day parade though no meetings are expected with the Indian team, sources said. A tri-service 75-member Indian military contingent has meanwhile reached Moscow to participate in the parade. “The visit of the defence minister will strengthen the longstanding special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia,” the Defence Ministry said. The Indian marching contingent will be led by a major rank officer of the gallant Sikh Light Infantry Regiment. The regiment had fought with valour in the Second World War and has the distinction of earning four battle honours and two military crosses amongst other gallantry awards. The Indian team will participate in the parade with armed forces personnel from at least 11 countries including China. Incidentally, bilateral relations between Russia and China remain cordial. (edited by PK Chakravarty with inputs from HT)

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