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Rajnath Singh to pay 3-day visit to Russia from Monday to attend grand parade
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will pay a three-day visit to Russia beginning Monday to attend a grand military parade in Moscow to mark the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Germany in the Second World War.
The defence minister's visit comes in the midst of an escalating border standoff between India and China, particularly after the killing of 20 Indian Army personnel by Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh's Galwan Valley on June 15.
"Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will pay a visit to Moscow to attend the victory parade on June 24 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Second World War," the defence ministry said in a statement. Officials said Singh is going ahead with the visit, notwithstanding the border row with China, due to India's decades-old military ties with Russia.
"I wish a safe journey to Defence Minister of strategic partner India @rajnathsingh who is scheduled to depart to Moscow on Monday to witness the Great Victory Day Military Parade on June 24," Russian Ambassador Nikolay Kudashev tweeted. The parade was originally scheduled on May 9, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A tri-service 75-member Indian military contingent has already reached Moscow to participate in the parade. "The visit of the defence minister will strengthen the longstanding special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia," the ministry said.
The Indian marching contingent will be led by a major rank officer of the gallant Sikh Light Infantry Regiment. The regiment had fought with valour in the Second World War and has distinction of earning four battle honours and two military cross amongst other gallantry awards. The Indian team will participate in the parade alongside armed forces personnel from at least 11 countries including China.
"The Indian participation in the victory day parade will be a mark of tribute to the great sacrifices made by Russia and other nations in the Second World War in which Indian soldiers also participated and made supreme sacrifice," the ministry said.