Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday hit out at the West for branding anyone as their “enemy” for not abiding by their norms, saying that it “tried to do the same with India once”.
“They [West] are trying to cast everyone who is not ready to blindly follow these Western elites as the enemy… At a certain point in time, they tried to do the same with India. Now they are flirting, of course,” Putin said.
Putin was referring to how US has been courting India over the last few years due to its growing strategic importance, nearly two decades after it imposed strict sanctions on New Delhi following the 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests.
Drawing a contrast, Putin said that Russia sees all civilisations as equal and was ready for “constructive cooperation”.
Besides India, Putin said the West meted out a similar treatement to China and Arab countries.
During his annual keynote speech in Sochi, Putin went on to praise the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government in India, saying that the leadership is “self-directed”.
“It is led by the national interests,” he said.
The Russian leader also said countries like India deserve a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which is need of reforms.
“India, Brazil and South Africa, in particular, deserve greater representation,” he said.
During his speech, Putin warned that if the West continued down this path, the consequences would be far-reaching.
“Our interlocutors in the West seem to have completely forgotten that there are such concepts as reasonable self-restraint, compromises, willingness to give in to something in order to achieve an acceptable result for everyone,”.
They are literally obsessed with only one thing – to push their interests at any cost. If that’s their choice, let’s see what comes of it,” he said.
President Putin also announced that Russia had successfully tested a potent new strategic missile and declined to rule out the possibility it could carry out weapons tests involving nuclear explosions for the first time in more than three decades.
Putin said for the first time that Moscow had successfully tested the Burevestnik, a nuclear-powered and nuclear-capable cruise missile with a potential range of many thousands of miles.
He also told the annual gathering that Russia had almost completed work on its Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile system, another key element of its new generation of nuclear weapons.
Putin, who has repeatedly reminded the world of Russia’s nuclear potential since launching his invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, said “no one in their right mind would use nuclear weapons against Russia.”
Putin said Russia’s potential enemies knew about its nuclear arsenal.
In response to a question, Putin said he was not ready to declare whether or not Russia needed to resume nuclear weapons testing, saying that “theoretically we could revoke ratification” of the international nuclear test ban treaty.
Russia has not conducted a test involving a nuclear explosion since 1990, the year before the collapse.