New Delhi: – Saying that Russia will not be establishing any special defence ties with China, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed all the reports pertaining to such claims. At the same time, he made a subtle statement that reports are being received regarding the possible Asian or eastern NATO being formed against Russia and China. The Indian Foreign Minister suggested that the Indian stand is that cooperation in new and varied ways will have to be established by the countries to overcome the challenges being posed in the Indo-Pacific region.
After the tension on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, India and the United States’ cooperation is becoming stronger on all levels. Simultaneously, it has become mandatory for Russia to get Chinese cooperation against the United States and NATO. An inevitable effect of this is visible on the bilateral relations between India and Russia. In this scenario, the Indian visit of the Russian Foreign Minister is closely being watched not only by the media in these two countries but also by the global media. Bilateral talks were held between the Indian and Russian Foreign Minister on Tuesday. The talks were regarding the cooperation in the nuclear, space and defence sectors and the situation in Afghanistan and Myanmar. Jaishankar and Lavrov clarified that the India-Russia cooperation is crucial in the current changing global scenario, and it was agreed to make the collaboration stronger.
Russian Foreign Minister refuted the claims that Russia will be establishing military cooperation on the lines of the collaboration with India. Simultaneously, quoting the tension created between India and China on the LAC in Ladakh, the Russian Foreign Minister clarified that Russia is cautiously watching the situation in the region. The Russian Foreign Minister also explained that Russia expects India and China to show maturity to resolve the border dispute amicably.
While denying Russia-China cooperation’s claims, the Russian Foreign Minister tried to draw attention that India is threatening the Russian interests with its participation in the Asian or Eastern NATO, meaning QUAD. But the Russian Foreign Minister avoided a direct mention. Lavrov added that he has already held discussions with the Indian Foreign Minister regarding the matter. Whereas, Jaishankar informed that he had clarified the Indian position on the Indo-Pacific sector to the Russian foreign minister. Jaishankar reminded that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had clearly presented the Indian Stand regarding the Indo-Pacific sector during the Shangri-La conference.
The Indian Prime Minister had said that there is a need for the countries to cooperate in new and varied ways to counter the new challenges being posed in the Indo-Pacific sector. Foreign Minister Jaishankar clarified that India is marching ahead on this path. The Indian and Russian Foreign Ministers have accepted that the outlook of their countries regarding Indo-Pacific and QUAD is different. Simultaneously, it was clarified in the joint press conference, addressed by the Indian and Russian Foreign Ministers, that both the countries are prepared to take measures so that this difference of opinion will not be allowed to affect the India-Russia relations.
Meanwhile, at the end of this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to visit India. President Putin will participate in the bilateral talks between the two countries. Foreign Minister Lavrov’s visit to India was a precursor to the Russian President’s visit. During this visit, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov expressed interest in manufacturing Russian defence equipment in India under the ‘Make in India’ scheme. Lavrov reminded that Russia is a country transferring the latest and advanced technology to India. Lavrov also said that India and Russia would be developing their cooperation even in the space and nuclear sectors. Detailed discussions were held between the two leaders regarding the Afghanistan peace process and the situation in Myanmar.
But it is becoming apparent that the Indian cooperation with the United States and participation in QUAD, and the developing military cooperation between Russia and China are enormous challenges that lie in front of the friendly relations between the two countries. The discussion between the Indian and Russian Foreign Ministers expressed confidence that India and Russia, who are friends traditionally, will overcome these challenges and strengthen bilateral cooperation.