Russia today ruled out forming a military alliance with China even as it sought further deepening of the defence partnership with India.

“No,” Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said categorically at a joint Press conference with External Affairs minister S Jaishankar when asked if Russia and China could sign a military pact, given the growing relationship between the two countries. “Russia-China relations are currently at the highest level in history but we are not discussing military alliance because we believe such alliances are counter-productive,” he said.

The Russian leader said his country believed in inclusive cooperation with everybody and not cooperation against somebody. The comments are significant in view of the military stand-off between India and China at Eastern Ladakh.

Earlier, Lavrov had detailed talks with Jaishankar on a wide range of issues, including bilateral ties as well as global developments. The issues which figured during their talks included the preparations for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India for his summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, bilateral military, civil nuclear energy and economic cooperation, situation in Afghanistan and the challenge posed to the global community by Covid-19.

Asked about the threat of US sanctions against India if it went ahead with the S-400 missile defence system deal with Russia, he said the American warnings did not figure in his talks with his Indian counterpart but they did discuss how the two countries could further strengthen defence cooperation.

He said he had discussed with Jaishankar the prospects of additional manufacturing of the Russian military equipment in India within the concept ‘Made in India’.