: Russia on Thursday reiterated that it would not supply weapons to Pakistan during a meeting between defence minister Rajnath Singh and his Russian counterpart General Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, people familiar with the developments said.

The Russian commitment on no arms supply to Pakistan followed an Indian request, they said.

“The defence minister got Russia’s assurance that it stands by India’s security interest,” they said. Russia also strongly supported the Make in India initiative aimed at self-reliance in the defence sector during the one-hour meeting that covered a broad range of areas of bilateral cooperation.

“It was noted that this meeting coincides with the Indra naval exercises to be conducted by the Indian and Russian navies off the Strait of Malacca over the next two days,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

Singh said the drills demonstrated the common interests of both countries in maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region.

“There was substantial commonality in positions with respect to challenges at the regional and international levels in the areas of peace and security, reflective of the deep trust and confidence that both sides enjoy as strategic partners,” the statement said.

Singh conveyed India’s appreciation for the steadfast support provided by Russia to address the country’s defence and security needs, it said.

General Shoigu reiterated Russia’s commitment to engage actively with India on the Make in India programme, including substantial participation in the forthcoming Aero India-2021. The show will be staged at the Yelahanka air base outside Bengaluru from February 3 to 7 with all the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the Covid-19.

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