A pair of top Russian officials on April 28 denied a recent New York Times report alleging that Moscow is helping India develop a sea-launched ballistic missile. (See Monitor, April 28) Yevgeny Ananev, director of the Russian state arms trading company Rosvooruzhenie, told reporters that “such work is not being done.” He also said that India had made no such request for Russian help. There have been, he continued, no talks between the two countries on the issue. (Russian agencies, April 28) A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman echoed this in a Russian radio interview. According to Valery Nesterushkin, the New York Times article contained “no serious facts” confirming Russian cooperation with India in developing the missile in question. He stressed that Russia strictly observes its international obligations not to contribute to the nonproliferation of missile technologies. (Ekho Moskvy, April 28) India has also denied the accuracy of the Times story.
On April 27, the day the Times piece appeared, White House spokesman Mike McCurry said that the United States is watching the Russian-Indian missile dealings “extraordinarily carefully.” He also confirmed that the United States has had “very high-level conversations” with Moscow “reflecting a broad range of our proliferation concerns, and this matter in particular has been discussed.” McCurry confirmed that the United States has not yet determined whether Russia’s actions in the matter constitute a violation of the Missile Technology Control Regime. (AP, April 27) The issue has intensified Washington’s concerns over Russia’s ability–or inability–to control its missile technology. Alleged leaks by Russia of missile technology to Iran have been a major point of friction between the United States and Russia.
RUSSIA EYES JAPANESE-U.S. DEFENSE COOPERATION.