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Russia clarifies: We never wanted Indians in our army

Roman Babushkin, Russia's Charge d'affaires, stated that Moscow never intended for Indians to serve in its armed forces, characterizing their presence as insignificant amid broader geopolitical tensions.

News Arena Network - Moscow - UPDATED: July 10, 2024, 05:56 AM - 3 mins read

Seven Indians, purportedly tourists, departed Russia for Ukraine's battlefield.

Russia clarifies: We never wanted Indians in our army

Seven Indians, purportedly tourists, departed Russia for Ukraine's battlefield.


In a diplomatic clarification, Russia addressed concerns over Indian nationals enlisted in its military ranks, spotlighting that their recruitment was purely commercial and not strategic.

 

Roman Babushkin, Russia's Charge d'affaires, stated that Moscow never intended for Indians to serve in its armed forces, characterising their presence as insignificant amid broader geopolitical tensions.

 

During a media briefing, Babushkin cited Russia's alignment with India's government on resolving the issue swiftly. 

 

He acknowledged Prime Minister Narendra Modi's forceful intervention with President Vladimir Putin, leading to assurances of the early repatriation of Indian support staff working within the Russian military.

 

Highlighting the non-political nature of the matter, Babushkin maintained, "We have never sought the inclusion of Indian personnel in the Russian Army. There has been no official announcement from our side regarding their recruitment."

 

Most of the Indians in question, estimated between 50 to 100 individuals, were engaged under commercial agreements, primarily motivated by financial considerations rather than military service.

 

Babushkin pointed out that many lacked proper work visas, having initially entered Russia on tourist visas.

 

Regarding the unfortunate deaths among these recruits, Babushkin indicated that compensation and adherence to contractual obligations for their families were expected outcomes.

 

Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra confirmed from Moscow that Russia had committed to promptly discharging all Indian nationals involved in military service, following Modi's direct intervention during informal discussions with Putin.

 

The issue came to the forefront after the deaths of several Indian recruits amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, prompting India to demand a halt to further enlistments and swift repatriation of those already engaged.

 

In March, Mohammed Asfan from Hyderabad succumbed to injuries sustained while serving with Russian forces, highlighting the risks faced by non-combatant personnel in conflict zones.

 

February witnessed the death of Hemal Ashwinbhai Mangua, a 23-year-old from Surat, in a Ukrainian air strike.

 

Modi's recent visit to Russia for the annual summit with Putin provided a platform to address the sensitive issue, reinforcing India's stance on the protection and repatriation of its citizens involved in international service roles.

 

The Ministry of External Affairs reiterated its concern over the matter, stating that further recruitment of Indian nationals by foreign militaries would not align with bilateral partnerships.

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