Alexander Kadakin, a Russian envoy of varied qualities

| Updated: Jan 26, 2017 21:47 IST

By Naveen Kapoor New Delhi [India], Jan. 26 (ANI): Russian envoy to India, Alexander M. Kadakin, passed away this morning due to heart failure following a brief illness. Exceptionally fluent in Hindi, Ambassador Kadakin had been holding the position of Head of the Russian diplomatic mission in New Delhi since November 2009. He began his diplomatic career as a Third Secretary at the Russian Embassy in India in 1972. Since then, his entire diplomatic career had been closely dedicated to promoting Indo-Russian relations. He was awarded the Order of Friendship in July 2016 by the Russian President's Chief of Staff, Sergey Ivanov, for strengthening bilateral ties between both nations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences on Twitter and said that he was deeply saddened over Kadakin's demise. "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," he tweeted. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said India had lost a 'dear friend'. MEA official spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted," India loses a dear friend... #RIPAmbassadorAlexander Kadakin, Russian Amb to India since 2009 who passed away early today morning." Kadakin was always vociferous and blunt on issue of terrorism and never minced words in condemning Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. He also was a strong advocate of a dialogue between India and Pakistan. Kadakin is believed to have shared a great rapport with the Indian leadership including former prime minister Indira Gandhi. He often visited Indira Gandhi's residence and hence, knew Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi since they were kids. He is said to have played a crucial role in the recently held BRICS Summit in Goa. Despite India's growing proximity with the United States and the super power's history with Russia, Kadakin assured India of Moscow's friendship and said that Russia would always remain an all-weather friend. Having said that, Kadakin regularly cautioned India about the United States' 'vested interests', when the Indo-US Nuclear Deal was shaping up in the year 2005. Rarely seen in an angry frame of mind, Kadakin was deeply saddened when several national-level organisations opposed the tapping of atomic power under the Kudankulam project. The Kudankulam nuclear plant was considered South Asia's most ambitious nuclear power project. India had allocated land for projects to two American companies and a French company. Russia was to establish several nuclear power plants in India. Later, R. S. Sundar, the director of Kudankulam nuclear power plant, was given the 'Order of Friendship' for his role in the operations of the nuclear facility. He was given the award by Kadakin. Kadakin shared an amiable relationship with the media too as he never shied away from taking calls from the journalists on his personal number. He was a philosopher too, albeit a different kind. He once told the journalists that one should always look at the glass as 'half-full', not 'half-empty' and consider 'half-full of Russian Vodka'. Kadakin's flamboyant attitude was his most remarkable characteristic. He once shared an anecdote in which when a Sikh banged his car in Khan Market, New Delhi, he came out of the car and had a verbal duel with the culprit. The late ambassador is also said to have been an avid Bollywood fan as he used to groove to the old songs at grand receptions that he hosted at the embassy. He used to call dance troupes from Moscow to perform as well. Kadakin, the longest-serving Russian Ambassador to India and to any nation in the Indian subcontinent, was born in Chisnau in then USSR in 1949. He graduated with honours from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1972. During his stay in India, he spent a lot of time in Kullu and visited the Reorich Memorial Trust many a time. (ANI)