Alexander Kadakin was fluent in Hindi, backed surgical hits across LoC.
New Delhi: Long-serving Russian ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin passed away on Thursday following a heart attack after a brief illness. He was 67. Fluent in Hindi, Kadakin was the most experienced India-hand and had been ambassador in New Delhi since November 2009. New Delhi said it had lost a “dear friend” who nurtured the Indo-Russian relationship for many decades. PM Narendra Modi said he was deeply saddened at Kadakin’s death.
Never afraid to speak his mind, Kadakin had recently waded into controversy after complaining about the “inadequate” cash withdrawal limits for embassies by the Indian government after demonetisation. But Kadakin also earned the gratitude of India after he supported the Army’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) a few months ago.
“With deep regret and profound sorrow the embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of India informs that Alexander Kadakin, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of India, passed away on January 26 in one of New Delhi central hospitals after a brief illness. He held the position of the Head of the Russian diplomatic mission in New Delhi from November 2009. Starting from 1971 the entire diplomatic career of Alexander Kadakin was closely associated with promoting Russian-Indian relations,” the Russian embassy said.
Mr Modi tweeted, “Deeply saddened at the passing away of ambassador Alexander Kadakin. He was an admirable diplomat, a great friend of India & a fluent Hindi speaker who tirelessly contributed to stronger India-Russia ties.”
MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted, “India loses a dear friend ... #RIPAmbassadorAlexander Kadakin, Russian Ambassador to India since 2009 who passed away early today morning”. He added, “In Ambassador Kadakin we lost a valued friend who nurtured #IndiaRussia relationship for many decades as distinguished Russian diplomat.”
Kadakin had served as the Russian envoy to India between 1999 and 2004 as well. Kadakin was born in Chisnau in then USSR in 1949. He graduated with honours from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1972. He began his diplomatic career as a third secretary at the Russian Embassy in India in 1972.
Kadakin had recently waded into controversy after reportedly grumbling that the Indian government’s restrictions on cash-withdrawals by embassies “will not be enough (even) to pay for a decent dinner in a restaurant, not to mention functioning of such a big embassy”.
The Russian protest had come as a huge embarrassment to the government on account of demonetisation. Kadakin had written to the Indian government saying the Russian embassy’s normal functioning was getting impacted with the “inadequate” amount limit of `50,000 per week. His letter had reportedly stated, “Such an amount is totally inadequate as regards the embassy’s salary and operational expenditure requirements ... Please just imagine if we in Moscow mirror this order of SBI (State Bank of India) when 50,000 roubles will not be enough to pay for a decent dinner in a restaurant, not to mention functioning of such a big embassy as ours in New Delhi or India’s in Moscow.”
But at the same time, Kadakin also fiercely backed India over the surgical strikes. “Greatest human rights violations take place when terrorists attack military installations and attack peaceful civilians in India. We welcome the surgical strike. Every country has right to defend itself,” he was quoted as saying a few months ago. He also assured India that it does not need to worry about Russia-Pakistan joint military exercises, saying it did not take place in “Pakistan-Occupied Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir”.