External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava

The Indian government on Wednesday said that the India-Russia annual summit was cancelled because of the COVID-19 crisis and that any imputation otherwise is false and misleading.

The foreign ministry's statement came after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted that damaging traditional relationships was dangerous for India's future.

"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.

On Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi had tweeted, along with a media report: "Russia is a very important friend of India. Damaging our traditional relationships is short-sighted and dangerous for our future."

The report that Rahul Gandhi shared claimed that the recent cancellation of the India-Russia annual summit, the first in two decades, was due to Moscow's unease with Quad — a group of US, Japan, Australia and India. The report claimed that they have not been able to hold their annual summit as Moscow has reservations over India joining the 4-nation Quad or Quadrilateral coalition.

In a statement, Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev called the report far from reality, reported PTI. "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.

(Inputs from Agencies)

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