Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to India from April 5-6, 2021 is significant from several points of view as the Indo-Russian bilateral meeting between the two countries was canceled for the first time ever last year. It may be the right opportunity to restore relations, thinks Brig NK Bhatia, an Indian Army veteran. An official statement issued by the Russian Embassy in New Delhi on the eve of the visit, emphasizes the special and privileged strategic partnership with India is one of the priorities of Russia’s foreign policy. Adding, India is a responsible and influential global player and we share the same vision of the developing polycentric world order model.
The rejection of confrontation and block-type approaches, the statement of the embassy also speaks about the importance of work between the two countries which is based on the principles of consensus and equality,
Adding, In the spirit of a unique and privileged strategic partnership, we regularly review the status of our positions and coordinate approaches to a wide range of issues, including global governance reform and strengthening the UN’s central coordinating role in international affairs.
According to the statement, Indian business interest in the Far East and other regions of Russia is growing.
What has caused this cooling in bilateral relations?
Sharing his personal views with Express Express Online, Brig Bhatia says, The main reason for the cooling in bilateral relations between Russia and India is because of India calming down in the US in the last two years and leaving Russia, including defense supplies. Although a large portion of Indian defense equipment is still primarily of Russian origin, there has been a shift in recent years to seek alternative sources of supply, including domestic defense equipment.
As reported by Financial Express Online, the Russian Foreign Minister will be accompanied by the Russian special envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, who is expected to brief the Indian leadership on Russia’s ongoing efforts to continue talks within Afghanistan.
Russia had taken the lead last month to host a meeting of representatives of the US, China and Pakistan to discuss emerging issues between the Afghan elected government and Taliban leaders to establish peace in the country. Pakistan would certainly have facilitated the presence of Taliban leaders in the Russian-led negotiations. India was removed from the meeting indicating growing closeness between the two countries, notes Brig Bhatia.
According to him, another important aspect of the visit is the jump of the Russian Foreign Minister accompanied by the Russian special envoy to Afghanistan immediately after their visit to Delhi in Islamabad. Russia and Pakistan are known to have come closer and there is talk of Pakistan receiving defense supplies from Russia. The two countries have also held joint military exercises, something that has been observed in India.
In addition to the above issues, Russia has been closer to Iran and China in recent years. He is also not really happy with developments in the Pacific Ocean and South China Sea and the formation of the US-led Quad to maintain control of China. Given Russia’s close ties to China, India will have to make some dexterous maneuvers to balance its relations with Russia, the Indian Army veteran thinks.
Agenda of the visit of the Russian Foreign Minister
He is arriving late Monday evening (April 5, 2021). His official engagements according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be on Tuesday (April 6, 2021). And by 4pm he will leave New Delhi for Islamabad.
This is a working visit to India and Russia will meet with his Indian counterpart Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar and hold talks with him on a wide range of bilateral and international issues.
According to an official statement issued by the Russian Embassy in New Delhi, the two ministers will exchange views on vital issues of the international and regional agenda, including cooperation in the UN, SCO and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). ). BRICS is led by India this year as well as RIC (Russia, India and China).
The talks will also focus on Afghanistan, as well as the situation in the Asia-Pacific region.
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