India is still interested in defense cooperation with Russia, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko told TASS in comments on a Reuters report that alleged New Delhi wants to distance itself from Moscow in this area.

“We have no such information. This is all on Reuters’ conscience. Our Indian partners, as before, are interested in cooperation, including in this area,” the diplomat said. Earlier, a source in New Delhi’s defense circles told TASS that Western countries are now struggling to establish military-technical cooperation with India, while Moscow and New Delhi have had strong ties in the area for a long time and are taking them to the next level.

India has traditionally been one of the largest buyers of Russian arms and military equipment. However, the West, especially the US, has previously publicly stated they are seeking to prevent India from concluding major defense industry contracts with Russia. For example, US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Jessica Lewis said that Washington was trying to take advantage of the crisis over Ukraine to chip away at Moscow share of the global market for arms and military equipment. The US is encouraging its foreign partners to diversify their armaments away from Russian systems, the US diplomat said.