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Russian Defence Minister's visit to Pak 'significant': India

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Russia has agreed to supply the Mi-35 attack helicopters to Pakistan.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin's New Delhi visit, India has termed as "significant" the first-ever visit of Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to Pakistan during which they signed a defence cooperation pact.

"The first-ever visit by the Russian defence minister to Pakistan is obviously significant... India has noted that Russia like other countries have chosen to progress defence cooperation with our neighbour," official spokesperson in the External Affairs Minister Syed Akbaruddin said.

He, however, said India does not want to comment on the relationship between the two other countries and emphasised that India-Russia ties were vibrant.

India and Russia have "special and privileged" strategic partnership which was unique and multi-dimensional in the widest possible areas including defence cooperation, he said.

"We share common views on several global and regional issues. We are looking forward to Putin's visit next week," the spokesperson said, adding that a "warm welcome awaits" the Russian President.

Last month, Shoigu paid a day-long visit to Pakistan during which he met Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and discussed several issues related to security and defence cooperation between Russia and Pakistan.

The two countries inked an important pact on defence cooperation.

Although, Russia has always maintained that it will not sell arms to Pakistan, the development is seen as Moscow's attempt to capture the growing demand of that country for weapons and other hardware.

Earlier this year, Russia concluded a deal to supply Mi- 35 'Hind E' attack helicopters to Pakistan.

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