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Will Lavrov’s India trip reset relations between India and Russia? – Diplomat


In the photo released by the Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, on the left, greeted Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar ahead of their talks in New Delhi, India, Three, April 6, 2021.

Credit: Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP

Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov went on a two-day tour to India, where he met his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar. Lavrov then went to Pakistan from New Delhi. A statement from the Russian Embassy in Delhi stated that “[a] Special and exclusive strategic partnership with India is one of Russia’s foreign policy priorities ”. During their joint press conference, two foreign ministers repeat The “challenging over time” nature as well as the “remarkable resilience” of bilateral relations in the face of increasing difficulties have affected India – Russia relations in recent times.

Both Jaishankar and Lavrov did everything they could to show that the India-Russia relationship was good and they were looking for ways to restore their partnership even further. It doesn’t seem to be enough.

The India-Russia relationship has recently seen a fair share of issues. Lavrov’s visit is aimed at repairing broken relations. Jaishankar said in a joint press conference that the bilateral relationship continues to be “dynamic and forward-looking” and that the two sides have reviewed their cooperation in areas such as nuclear and aerospace technology. pillar and defense sector. The two sides also considered economic ties that have been negatively affected by the pandemic and agreed to pursue new opportunities in Russia’s Far East. Highlighting the connectivity potential in the bilateral context, Jaishankar and Lavrov spoke on the North-South International Transport Corridor and the Chennai-Vladivostok East Maritime Corridor. Jaishankar has invited Russia to play a key role in India’s Atmanirbhar Bharat (“self-reliant India”) economic vision, which could provide new opportunities for the more modern, dynamic economic relationship between the two. side.

Regarding the Indo-Pacific strategy, the strategy has caused some discomfort in the India-Russia bilateral relationship, Jaishankar. repeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the Indo-Pacific character and emphasized India’s view of the centrality of ASEAN and the Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative, which India has enemies at the East Asia Summit. He added that “contemporary challenges require countries to work together in new and different ways” and when India adopts a policy of “Act East and Beyond”, he stressed Russia. is “a very important partner.

Lavrov, for his part, agreed with Jaishankar’s assessment of the bilateral relationships, which he thinks are “valuable, mutually respectful and they are not affected by political upheavals”. In response to a question about the possibility of a Russia-China military alliance, Foreign Minister Lavrov said Russia-China relations “are at the highest level in history. But these relationships did not pursue the goal of forming a military alliance. ” While rejecting the potential for a Sino-Russian military alliance, he opposed the Quartet, which some commentators have described as an “Asian NATO”. He went on to argue that Russia’s stance is the same as that of India’s; Moscow is interested in “inclusive cooperation, aimed at not fighting someone,” he said.

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These sentiments go against the backdrop of a difficult bilateral 2020. The annual Indo-Russian Summit was canceled for the first time in two decades last year. While respective ministries in both India and Russia reiterated that the summit was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic and it was the decision of both sides, a media report in New Delhi shown something more serious: It’s all bad between India and Russia and the annual summit could be canceled due to Russia ‘s serious reservations about New Delhi joining the India initiative. The Ocean – Pacific Ocean and the Quad “. Although the State Department (MEA) spokesperson’s response to the media report reiterated that “this is a mutually agreed decision”, it did not doubt about the status of relationships between New Delhi and Moscow. It is also inconclusive because during the pandemic India held mostly bilateral and multilateral meetings with other partners.

Furthermore, Lavrov’s earlier comments on the Indo-Pacific and Group Quad skirmishes did not go down well in India. In the face of New Delhi’s annoyance, Russia essentially sees China’s concerns about the Quad and developing Indo-Pacific strategies as mechanisms to counter China. Lavrov lift up This was first at the annual Indian Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi in January 2020. In December, while speaking at the Russian International Affairs Council in Moscow, he again undermined India’s own concern. speech that “India is now subject to the persistent, belligerent and tortuous policy of Western countries as they try to engage in anti-China games by promoting Indo-Pacific strategies. Yang, the so-called ‘Quad’ while at the same time the West is trying to undermine our close partnership and privileged relationship with India ”.

Russia’s ignorance and appreciation of India’s security concerns, especially after the Galwan crisis will continue to be an issue. The fact that Russia has not shown any sensitivity to India’s security concerns about China and its continued opposition to Beijing is surprising. Lavrov’s statement in December sparked a reaction, with a spokesman for the MEA comment that India will continue to have an independent foreign policy based on its own national interests and that its Indo-Pacific strategy is not aimed at any particular country. He continued add that “India’s relationship with each country is independent of its relationship with third countries. We hope that this is understood and appreciated by all of our partners. “However, the conflict between India and China has put Russia in a difficult position and the country is making a balancing act between New Delhi and Beijing, which they are not doing very well. On the unrest on the border and the split between India and China, Lavrov in an interview with an Indian newspaper stated a carefully neutral position.

Like Alexei Zakharov discuss“Russia’s dissonance with China has gone too far, but Moscow’s dependence on Beijing may not be affected for a long time, possibly as long as Russia is facing financial pressure. politics and politics from the West. At the same time, it must be admitted that it is time for Moscow to recalibrate its relations with India, which is the key to achieving a real geopolitical equilibrium in the region. These are clear signs that troubles on the Indo-Russian bilateral front are far from over. Clearly, China is likely to continue to be a remarkable point in this relationship.

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