Recruitment of Indians by Russian Army is of ‘utmost and deep concern’: New Delhi | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Recruitment of Indians by Russian Army is of ‘utmost and deep concern’: New Delhi

Jun 21, 2024 09:28 PM IST

MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said India has “again taken up the issue” of recruitment of Indian nationals in the Russian military with Moscow

NEW DELHI: India said on Friday it expects Russia to act on New Delhi’s demand for a “verified stop” to the recruitment of Indian nationals in the Russian Army following the death of four Indians while serving on the frontlines of the conflict with Ukraine.

Russian army servicemen drive a tank on a street in Donetsk, Russian-controlled Ukraine (REUTERS FILE)
Russian army servicemen drive a tank on a street in Donetsk, Russian-controlled Ukraine (REUTERS FILE)

Following the recent deaths of two Indians nationals in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Indian side on June 11 demanded a “verified stop” to further recruitment of Indians by the Russian Army. The Indian side resorted to the unusual step of making the demand soon after the foreign secretary attended the National Day reception at the Russian embassy.

“We had sought a verified stop to recruitment and we have taken up this issue with all sincerity with the Russian authorities with the expectation that they’re going to act,” ministry of external affairs spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal told a regular media briefing.

“It’s a matter of utmost and deep concern to us, and the Russian authorities will act on it soon,” he said while responding to a question on the release and repatriation of Indians serving with the Russian Army.

People familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity that the Russian side is yet to formally respond to India’s demand for a “verified stop” to the recruitment of Indian citizens.

Jaiswal said the Indian side has “again taken up the issue” with Russian authorities. “We have been continuing with this process. We are engaged with the Russian authorities both here in New Delhi as also in Moscow, so that people who are serving in the Russian Army can be released and repatriated to India as soon as possible,” he said.

The Indian side is also in touch with the Russian defence and foreign ministries to ensure that the bodies of two Indians who were killed recently can be brought back to the country as soon as possible.

About 25 Indians serving with the Russian military have so far contacted Indian authorities seeking help to be released. Out of those, 10 had been released and repatriated to India, Jaiswal said.

While reports have suggested that up to 200 Indian nationals had been recruited by the Russian military to serve as support staff, such as cooks and helpers, the people cited above said the number could be about 100. However, it has been difficult for Indian authorities to establish contact with Indian nationals who are believed to be serving on the frontlines because of the frequent movement of military units and the lack of proper communications, the people said.

The external affairs ministry had earlier urged Indian citizens to “exercise caution while seeking employment opportunities in Russia”.

Many Indian nationals were duped by recruiting agents based in Indian cities and Dubai into taking up jobs with the Russian military. Besides the four deaths, several Indians have been injured. Indians have also posted videos on social media seeking help to get out of such jobs.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recently busted a human trafficking network spread across several states that lured gullible young men through social media channels and agents with the promise of highly paid jobs in Russia.

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