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Last updated: 09 Jul, 2024  

Abhay.9.thmb.jpg Hindu temple in Moscow would be a trailblazing move, says Indian-origin Russian lawmaker

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IANS Interview | 09 Jul, 2024

Abhay Kumar Singh, the only Indian-origin lawmaker in Russia, speaking exclusively to IANS, said on Sunday that the ties between India and Russia will further get emboldened during the two-day visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

PM Modi is set to visit Russia on Monday to attend the 22nd India-Russia summit, scheduled on July 8 and 9.

Abhay Singh, who is a deputat (akin to MLA in India) and member of the United Russia party, led by President Vladimir Putin, spoke to IANS on various other issues including the warm and friendly ties between heads of the two nations and also on the demand for a Hindu Temple in Russia, on lines of US and UAE. He said that the construction of a Hindu temple in Russia would be a positive and trailblazing move.

Notably, this is the first visit of PM Modi to Russia, after the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war in February 2022.

IANS: How important is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia on July 8?

Abhay Kumar Singh: Russians have been waiting for PM Modi for the past two years. In today’s time, India is playing a huge role in global affairs. So, keeping in view India’s role, PM Modi’s visit to Russia is important. All the world leaders will be focused on his visit and will wait for the outcome of this visit. This visit is a welcome step and we are waiting to give him a grand welcome in Russia.

IANS: The friendship between PM Modi and President Putin is deep. Lately, the Russians have been growing closer to China. Will this impact the India-Russia relationship?

Abhay Kumar Singh: Nations do have a relationship with other countries based on their national interests. Also, there is a long border which Russia shares with China. Their relationship (China-Russia) will have no impact on the relationship between New Delhi and Moscow. We have been friends with the Russians for the last 75 years. And there has been no conflict between us.

However, I believe that the Chinese will be keeping a close watch on PM Modi’s visit to Russia.

IANS: The trade between India and Russia has grown manifold. What impact trade is going to have on Indian currency?

 Abhay Kumar Singh: Initially, India and Russia had a trade turnover of 10 billion dollars which now has increased to 50 billion dollars. The Indian Rupee has become stronger because of this trade which not only has benefited India but also her neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal.

 IANS: PM Modi has talked with President Putin, many times. How do you see the ties between the two leaders?

 Abhay Kumar Singh: Their (PM Modi and President Putin) friendship is deep. They often speak to each other as and when circumstances arise. President Putin takes these conversations very positively and in a friendly manner.

 IANS: Even before PM Modi’s visit, there has been an increasing demand for constructing a temple in Moscow. How do you view these developments?

 Abhay Kumar Singh: Construction of a temple in Russia will be a positive development. Unofficially, there are many temples in Russia and everyone knows this fact but officially constructing a temple in Moscow will be a big message for Hindutva. We must understand that Russia is not inclined to one particular religion. There are Christians who are in the majority, it also has an ample population of Muslims, Buddhists and other religions. There are many Russians who have converted to Hinduism and they will immensely welcome the move if the Russian government takes steps for the construction of a temple in Moscow.

IANS: Russia promised to deliver S-400s to India. But the delivery has been delayed due to the Ukraine war. When can we expect the delivery of these S-400s to India?

 Abhay Kumar Singh: Rosoboronexport, the Russian defence company which exports S-400s, has said that the delivery will be done to India at any time during 2024. Many reports by Western media that the Ukraine war stopped the delivery of S-400s to India are not true. The equipment will be delivered by this year only.

 IANS: Both countries have strong ties as far as the defence equipments are concerned. The bullets used in T-72 and T-90 tanks (which are also called Mango) are now being developed indigenously, under Make in India. How do you see this development?

 Abhay Kumar Singh: Both the tanks, T-72 and T-90, are the world’s best tanks. Manufacturing them indigenously is a plus for the Indian army as they will not be dependent on any other country during times of war.

IANS: Lastly, your message for both countries?

Abhay Kumar Singh: Even if we look before 1947, Russians have never had a bad eye towards India. They have been always friendly with India. We should help each other and take this friendship forward.


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