Never Wanted Indians In Our Army, Says Russia As Modi Seeks Return Of Citizens

OB Bureau

New Delhi: As India called for the return of its citizens engaged as support staff in the Russian Army in the war against Ukraine, Russia said on Wednesday their recruitment was a commercial matter, reported PTI.

Narendra Modi raised the “very strongly” with President Vladimir Putin during the Indian Prime Minister’s two-day state visit to Moscow.

Russia promised to ensure early release and return home of Indian nationals working in the Russian military.

Russia’s Charge d’affaires Roman Babushkin said that Moscow never wanted Indians to be part of its Army and their number is insignificant in the context of the conflict.

“We are on the same side with the Indian government on the issue… We hope that the issue will be resolved soon,” Babushkin told mediapersons, urging that the issue should not be politicised.

“Let us be very clear, we have never wanted Indians to be part of the Russian Army. You would never see any announcement by Russian authorities on this,” he stated.

Pointing out that 50, 60 or 100 Indians are with Russian military, Babushkin said most of them were recruited under a commercial framework as they wanted to ‘make money’.

“They are there purely for commercial reasons and we did not want to recruit them,” he said.

Babushkin further clarified that most of the Indians recruited as support staff are working illegally as they don’t have appropriate visas, and came to Russia on tourist visas.

Last month, the Indian government said two Indian nationals recruited by the Russian Army had been killed in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, taking the number of such deaths to four.

Asked if families of the deceased will be given compensation and Russian citizenship, Babushkin said it should happen anyway as per contractual obligations.

OB Bureau

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