India and Russia on Wednesday said their annual summit did not take place this year only because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and that any imputation otherwise is “false” and “misleading”. The assertion by the two countries came following a media report that said they have not been able to hold their annual summit as Moscow has reservations over India joining the 4-nation Quad or Quadrilateral coalition. The Quad comprises India, the US, Russia and Australia.

“The India-Russia Annual summit did not take place in 2020 because of the COVID pandemic. This was a mutually agreed decision between the two Governments. Any imputation otherwise is false and misleading,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in response to the report. “Spreading false stories on important relationships is particularly irresponsible,” he added.

Sharing a screenshot of the news report, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi warned that “damaging our traditional relationships is short-sighted and dangerous for our future”.

In a statement, Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev called the report far from reality. “Find it to be far from reality. Special and privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India is progressing well despite the Covid-19,” he said.

“Staying in close touch with our Indian friends to work out new dates for the summit, postponed due to epidemiological reasons. We are confident that it will be held in the near future, while the Russian-Indian relations will continue its further development,” he added.