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Russia says Indians recruited in its army for commercial reasons after PM flags issue

Russia says Indians recruited in its army for commercial reasons after PM flags issue

Prime Minister Modi raised concerns about Indian nationals misled into joining the Russian Army during his visit to Moscow. Russian authorities clarified these individuals were recruited for commercial reasons and not intended for the military.

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The Russian diplomat asserted that the majority of Indians were recruited based on commercial agreements. (Representative Image/Freepik) The Russian diplomat asserted that the majority of Indians were recruited based on commercial agreements. (Representative Image/Freepik)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his recent visit to Moscow, raised concerns about Indian nationals who were misled into joining the Russian Army. In response, Russian authorities clarified that these individuals were recruited solely for commercial reasons and were never intended to be part of the Russian military.

A Russian diplomat, quoted by PTI, stated, "They are there purely for commercial reasons and we did not want to recruit them." The recruitment of Indians, many of whom were lured with promises of lucrative jobs, has led to their involvement in the ongoing conflict against Ukraine. Since the war began in February 2022, at least four Indian nationals have lost their lives.

Following high-level discussions between Prime Minister Modi and President Vladimir Putin, Moscow has agreed to discharge and facilitate the return of all Indian nationals recruited as support staff in the Russian Army. 

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Russia's Charge d'affaires, Roman Babushkin, emphasised that Moscow never intended for Indians to be part of its Army and highlighted that their presence is insignificant in the broader context of the conflict.

Babushkin stated, "To be clear, we have never wanted Indians in the Russian Army. There has never been any such announcement from Russian authorities." He further explained that the recruitment was done under a commercial framework, with many Indians seeking financial opportunities.

The diplomat noted that most Indians working as support staff in Russia do so illegally, having entered the country on tourist visas. When questioned about compensation and citizenship for the families of those killed, Babushkin indicated that such matters should be resolved according to contractual obligations.

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To date, approximately 35–50 Indian recruits are believed to be in the Russian Army, with 10 having been permitted to return. 

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has demanded a verified halt to further recruitment of Indian nationals by the Russian Army, stating that such activities are incompatible with the partnership between India and Russia.

Edited By: Ashmita
Published On: Jul 11, 2024