India, China and Russia should cooperate in Indo-Pacific region: Russian envoy

The advice by the new Russian envoy is contrary to the security policy being followed by the Modi government, which is seen as part of a US-led security alliance to counter China

PTI Photo
PTI Photo

Dhairya Maheshwari

Russia’s envoy to India has pitched for a trilateral partnership between Moscow, Beijing and New Delhi to maintain security in the Indo-Pacific region.

The significant remarks by Nikolay Rishatovich Kudashev came at the release of a report to mark 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries at New Delhi-based think tank Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) on Tuesday.

The Russian Ambassador’s proposition comes amid New Delhi’s growing proximity with the US, with India under the present regime increasingly being seen as part of a Washington-led security quadrilateral that also features Japan and Australia.

During his visit to the US in August earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump had jointly called for enhanced security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region to counter an increasingly assertive China.

However, Kudashev hinted that forging closer economic and security cooperation with China, instead of the US, would be more conducive for peace in the Asia-Pacific region.

He said that India had the potential to play a more constructive role in “abating” American hostility towards Russia.

On China’s ambitious One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, the Russian envoy expressed hope that India and China would set aside their differences in favour of economic cooperation.

The report, titled New Horizon of a Privileged Partnership and jointly prepared by the VIF and Russia International Affairs Council (RIAC), does take note of the US and Pakistan factors as irritants in Indo-Russia relations.

PP Shukla, India’s former envoy to Russia and an author of the report, said that India’s relations with its allies had always tended to suffer when partner countries leaned towards Pakistan.

“We have seen that happening in the case of Britain, the US and now Russia,” Shukla said.

Former Indian Ambassador to Russia, Kanwal Sibal, another author, said that the rise of China and the election Donald Trump as US President were among inevitable geopolitical factors that had affected India-Russia ties.

“Russia’s evolving policy on terrorism and its growing closeness to Pakistan is also creating misgivings in India,” Sibal added.

However, the Russian ambassador said that the Kremlin’s support to Pakistan’s security forces was solely meant to bolster counter-terrorism efforts in the Af-Pak region.

The former Indian envoys and the Russian ambassador concurred that multilateral fora such as RIC (Russia-India-China) forum, BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) were playing a significant part in enhancing relations between different regional powers.

The joint report, among others, has called for increased economic ties between the two allies and the need to make the bilateral relationship “independent of their ties with third countries and impervious to crises and changes in global circumstances.”

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