Russia assures India; says no to the military alliance with China
The statement on China and the position on Pakistan are important amid the Indo-Chinese disengagement process along the Real Line of Control (LAC) and ahead of the Russian Foreign Minister’s trip to Islamabad.
ET had reported on Monday that the Indian perspective on China will be a key part of the Indo-Russian foreign minister’s dialogue here on Tuesday which took place immediately after the Russian foreign minister’s trip to China. It will be recalled that Russia engaged in backchannel diplomacy last year to defuse tensions between Delhi and Beijing after the Galwan standoff even as Moscow continued to provide defense equipment to the Indian army for keep the CLA. As president of the BRICS, Moscow was the site of a bilateral dialogue between Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi last September. In the words of the Indian Foreign Minister, âour defense sector needs over the past year have been quickly addressed.
Addressing a joint press meeting with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected reports of a likely military alliance between Russia and China and noted that Moscow is interested in inclusive cooperation and called military alliances counterproductive. Lavrov replied ‘Net’ (not in Russian) when asked about the Russian-Chinese military alliance at the press conference before explaining in detail the Russian position. “Russian-Chinese relations are at their peak, but the goal of a military alliance is not being pursued.”
Lavrov, however, noted that he had heard of possible military alliances in West Asia and Asia, including Asia-NATO. âOur Indian friends have the same position as us. We believe that the military alliance is counterproductive and we are interested in inclusive cooperation that is for something and not against something. It can be noted here that Quad has been dubbed in some circles as the probable Asian NATO. However, New Delhi is not keen on turning it into a military alliance.
ET has learned from senior sources that during the Jaishankar-Lavrov dialogue, the Russian side also reiterated its support for India’s position on Kashmir and Pakistan, in addition to making it clear that it will not join either. CPEC nor will it provide defense equipment to Islamabad. Russia spoke of non-interference in the internal affairs of India and to address Indo-Pakistani issues on the basis of past bilateral agreements, sources informed, adding that the dialogue was marked by extreme cordiality and heat.
India has emphasized a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region and, as part of its concept of inclusion, sees Russia as a power in the Pacific and a key player in the Indo-Pacific region. . This issue was also featured in Tuesday’s dialogue.
Moscow and New Delhi have started to cooperate in certain geographic areas of the Indo-Pacific region. India has energy investments in the Russian Far East and has taken initial steps to invest in other areas in the region. The Indo-Russian Eastern Maritime Corridor connecting the ports of Chennai and Vladivostok is under preparation and featured prominently during the Jaishankar-Lavrov meeting. The Chennai-Vladivostok maritime link was operational during the Soviet period. âWe have positively assessed our economic cooperation, noting new opportunities in the Russian Far East. We talked about connectivity, including the North-South International Transport Corridor and the Chennai-Vladivostok Eastern Sea Corridor, âJaishankar told reporters.
New Delhi and Moscow are in talks to partner with ASEAN-related bodies as part of their emerging Indo-Pacific partnership, in addition to expanding their connectivity and trade ties in East and North Asia. -Is, including with Japan. India and Russia will explore a bilateral partnership within ASEAN with a focus on post-pandemic economic reconstruction.
Referring to his discussions on this topic, Jaishankar said, âI shared our perspective on the Indo-Pacific. As our Prime Minister pointed out during the Shangri-La Dialogue a few years ago, contemporary challenges demand that countries work together in new and different ways. Such cooperation also reflects the multipolar and rebalanced character of world politics. India is firmly committed to the centrality of ASEAN and this is underscored by the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative which it championed at the East Asia summit. As we implement our Act East policy and beyond, Russia is a very important partner. Whether it’s their Far East or the Chennai-Vladivostok corridor.
At the joint press conference, Lavrov also spoke about Russia manufacturing 750 million doses of the Sputnik vaccine in India. In his remarks, Jaishankar said: “Our pharmaceutical collaboration has become more serious and as many of you know we have a Russian vaccine being discussed for production in India”. He said he invited Russia to profit and invest in India under the AtmaNirbhar Bharat initiative.
Among regional issues, Lavrov and Jaishankar have also sought to narrow the gap on prospects for Afghanistan and its future, ET learned. Lavrov was accompanied to the dialogue by Russia’s interlocutor on Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov. Jaishankar said: âI shared our approach that a lasting peace there will require the harmonization of the interests of all, both within and around this country. The peace process must be based on fundamental principles to which we all subscribe. And a political solution should mean an independent, sovereign, united and democratic Afghanistan. ”
Lavrov’s trip also helped prepare for the annual India-Russia summit in India later this year, in addition to a forward-looking dialogue on issues relating to defense, energy and connectivity agreements. The agenda for the BRICS summit that India will host later this year was also the focus of Lavrov’s visit. India is also the current chair of the Russia-India-China or RIC format.
Faster connectivity between the two sides to increase the volume of business is a priority for both sides and the first ministerial visit to India from Russia since the Covid epidemic provided an opportunity to discuss the initiatives. India wants to give a boost to connectivity links in the Eurasian theater, including Russia, through INSTC and the port of Chabahar. Iran and West Asia were also high on the meeting’s agenda.
âThe meeting went very well. Lavrov tried to explain the issues of interest in great detail, as did Dr. Jaishankar. It was a warm and cordial conversation. Lots of mutual respect. Both FMs are of the highest caliber, âa senior source told ET.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov is expected to travel to New Delhi later this month for the Joint Committee meeting with Jaishankar.