External Affairs Minister S.Jaishankar on Monday said that due to the “Western countries’ preference for the military dictatorship in the neighbourhood”, Bharat has a substantial inventory of Russian-origin weapons. He said this during a joint press meet 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 Bharat will reduce its reliance on Russian weapons and rethink it’s relations with Russia owing to the Ukraine conflict.
“We have a substantial inventory of Soviet and Russian-origin weapons. And that inventory actually grew for a variety of reasons. You know, the merits of the weapons systems themselves, but also because for multiple decades, Western countries did not supply weapons to India, and in fact, saw a military dictatorship next to us as the preferred partner,” Jaishankar said.
He was referring to the Cold War era when the US supplied weapons only to Pakistan, despite it being ruled mostly by military dictators. In fact, Gen. Pervez Musharraf was the last dictator of Pakistan who was removed as recently as 2008.
Even after the Cold War ended in 1991 with the collapse of the USSR, USA and other Western powers continued to aid & abet Pakistan which had launched a proxy war against Bharat by then, as part of its bleed-with-thousand-cuts jihad in Kashmir. The Taliban terror infrastructure that USA and Pakistan jointly created to fight the Russians in Afghanistan during the 1980s, was diverted to Kashmir and other parts of the subcontinent after the Russian withdrawal by 1989.
In the 2000s, Pakistan emerged as a hub of global terror, with deep links to attackers responsible for terror strikes in the West like 9/11 and London 7/7. Osama Bin Laden was found living in a fortified compound just a short distance from Pakistan’s military academy in Abbottabad. Despite American voices like academic Christine Fair warning about Pakistan’s double-dealing and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, telling the US parliament that Pakistani’s ISI has ties with terrorist groups, the Pentagon and American establishment has remained steadfast in nurturing close ties with Pakistan, continuing to reward it with funds, weapons and a Major non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status.
While Jaishankar was right in calling Pakistan a military dictatorship – the country has been ruled directly by military dictators for 33 years, and the Army continues to call the shots even when civilian governments are ostensibly in power- he stopped short of calling out the Islamofascist nature of Pakistan. In 1971, the Pakistani Army carried out a genocide of 3 millions Bengalis, 2.4 millions of them Hindus, and the country has systematically persecuted and murdered lakhs of minorities since its formation.
The External Affairs Minister further said that India and Russia have a long-standing relationship that has certainly served New Delhi’s interests well.
“We all in international politics deal with what we have, we make judgments, judgments which are reflective of both our future interests as well as our current situation. And my sense is, in terms of this current conflict, like every military conflict, there are learnings from it, and I am sure my very professional colleagues in the military would be studying it very carefully,” Jaishankar said further.
Last month also Jaishankar, during a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, had said that Bharat has a right to choose according to what protects it’s national interests, in terms of weapons it wants to purchase.
(With IANS inputs)