Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with the Russian President Vladimir Putin on his two-day visit, at Vladivostok, in Russia

Noting the importance of military-technical cooperation between New Delhi and Moscow, Indian Ambassador to Russia Bala Venkatesh Varma on Wednesday said India has an independent policy and makes every decision in the military sphere in accordance with the interests of its defence and national security.

In an interview with TASS, envoy Varma said, "India-Russia ties go back decades. This is one of the pillars of our strategic partnership. India also has a global strategic partnership with the US. New Delhi's relations with each country are independent. India has an independent policy, and we make every decision in the military sphere in accordance with the interests of our defence and national security."

On the question of possible US sanctions over the purchase of S-400s, he said: "All our partners are aware of India's defence policy and needs. For any country, it should not be a surprise that India is making decisions on its defence policy independently, in accordance with its own needs in defence and security."

Speaking on the Russian Sputnik V clinical trials in India, Varma added, "The Sputnik V vaccine is already well known. The second stage of its clinical trials in India has been completed, and the third has begun. The vaccine approval process will take another couple of weeks."

Envoy Varma further revealed that he received his first dose of the Sputnik-V vaccine last week. "Many of my colleagues at the embassy have also been vaccinated, and many are going to do so," he said.

Over the annual Russian-Indian summit not being held last year, he said, "There is an agreement between the two countries that President Putin will visit India to participate in the bilateral summit, which could not be held in 2020 for the only reason -- the COVID-19 situation. As soon as the epidemic situation allows, both sides will agree on a specific date for the visit."

On the USD 1 billion credit line extended by India for the development of the Far East, envoy Varma said, "This is an unprecedented case, because for the first time India provides a preferential credit line to its business partners for cooperation with Russian colleagues in the Far East, and this is very important."

Over chairing the BRICS summit, the Indian envoy said, "India, as chairman of the BRICS, as always, wants to consolidate the association as a key international platform for cooperation in a multipolar world in order to change the situation in the economy and health after the pandemic, but also to strengthen the synergy of contacts between people.