Between India and Pakistan | Latest news The Moscow Post
28 September 2021

Between India and Pakistan

What role Russia intends to play in relations between India and Pakistan, and at the same time between India and China.

According to The Moscow Post correspondent, on April 5-6, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov paid a working visit to New Delhi, the capital of India. He conveyed to his Indian counterpart Mubramaniam Jaishankar an oral message from Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing the hope that the next meeting of the leaders of Russia and India will be held this year.

A particularly privileged strategic partnership with India is one of the priorities of Russia's foreign policy. The Kremlin confirmed its attitude to "further strengthen multifaceted Russian-Indian relations" in line with the 20th anniversary of the Declaration on Strategic Partnership, when Putin congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his 70th anniversary.

Earlier, in June 2019, on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Putin took part in a meeting in the Russia-India-China (RIC) format with Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The meeting was organized by India.

According to President Vladimir Putin, "cooperation in the RIC format could be an example for creating a modern, fair, multipolar world order that denies protectionism, a policy of unilateral actions and illegitimate sanctions."

Among the projects in which India is interested are the North-South international transport corridor and the creation of a free trade zone with the Eurasian Economic Union. The first round of technical consultations on the creation of such a zone took place in January 2019. Cooperation in the field of peaceful space exploration continues. Within the framework of the IASC on trade and economic cooperation, a Working Group on Science and Technology was created, an integrated long-term cooperation program and a program of cooperation in the field of basic science were signed. Close ties developed through military-technical cooperation and the export of Russian military equipment.

Sergey Lavrov noted during negotiations with his Indian counterpart that relations between Russia and China do not aim to create a military alliance. Russia, he said, also does not feel that India hesitates in the development of military-technical cooperation with Moscow due to Washington's pressure. New Delhi announced its intention to acquire Russian S-400 back in 2015. The contract for the supply of five regimental air defense systems S-400 Triumph worth $5.43 billion was signed during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to India in October 2018.

"Negotiation basket" of the Russian Federation

In an interview with the Hindustan Times on April 6, 2021, one of the first questions was asked about the tension surrounding the crisis situation on the Indian-Chinese border in Ladakh province. In his response, the Russian minister praised the constructive attitude of the parties and the desire to act independently, within the framework of multilevel mechanisms of bilateral dialogue, without the intervention of external forces.

Assessing the concept of the Indo-Pacific region, Sergey Lavrov noted: "We are wise enough to understand that the strategy is more divisive than unifying." Since 2007, New Delhi has been participating in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) quadripartite consultations on Indo-Pacific security, where the tone is set by the United States, Japan, Australia. The virtual summit of this dialogue, held on March 12, was the first at the level of the leaders of these countries.

In particular, under the administration of D. Trump, India received the status of "Main Defense Partner," agreements on logistics and information exchange were signed. A comprehensive global strategic partnership has been established.

While in New Delhi, Sergey Lavrov said that he did not exclude the possibility of producing an Indian vaccine for COVID-19 in Russia. The Hindu publication, citing a source, reported that the Russian Sputnik V vaccine will receive permission for emergency use in India. Sergey Lavrov also noted that this year India chairs the BRICS, began working in the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member.

India is an important player in resolving the situation in Afghanistan, is a member of the Moscow format, uniting the neighboring states of Afghanistan, key countries of the region and the United States. On March 18, inter-Afghan consultations of the expanded troika on Afghanistan were organized in Moscow. Russia plans to resume the Moscow format to advance the peace process in Afghanistan.

Relations between the central government in Kabul and the leaders of the Taliban movement, the prospects for national reconciliation and the orderly withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan can all be in the "big negotiating basket" of Sergei Lavrov in Islamabad. Pakistan, as you know, distances itself from the United States, has quite strong ties with China. The long-term lease of the port of Gwadar for the needs of Chinese transit can confirm the close relations between Islamabad and Beijing.

India is an important player in resolving the situation in Afghanistan, is a member of the Moscow format, uniting the neighboring states of Afghanistan, key countries of the region and the United States. On March 18, inter-Afghan consultations of the expanded troika on Afghanistan were organized in Moscow. Russia plans to resume the Moscow format to advance the peace process in Afghanistan.

Relations between the central government in Kabul and the leaders of the Taliban movement (an organization banned on the territory of the Russian Federation), the prospects for national reconciliation and the orderly withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan - all this can be in the "big negotiation basket" of Sergei Lavrov in Islamabad. Pakistan, as you know, distances itself from the United States, has quite strong ties with China. The long-term lease of the port of Gwadar for the needs of Chinese transit can confirm the close relations between Islamabad and Beijing.

In February 2020, the United States and the Taliban movement (an organization banned on the territory of the Russian Federation) reached an agreement on the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in 14 months. The United States does not meet these deadlines, which, according to observers, will negatively affect inter-Afghan negotiations.

While in New Delhi, Sergey Lavrov held an unplanned meeting with John Kerry, who in the administration of Joe Biden deals with climate issues, but was the closest partner of the Russian minister in the negotiations on Syria. This meeting was requested by the American side. It cannot be ruled out that it was this subregional "climate" that John Kerry could be interested in when he met with Sergey Lavrov.

Russia - India - Pakistan

Russia intends to help normalize relations between India and Pakistan, as well as between India and China. That is why it is important to maintain the participation of India and Pakistan in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). India's relations with the "breakaway" Muslim Pakistan are still not normal and stable. During last year's online event, organized at the initiative of Moscow, India turned off the monitor when the representative of Pakistan spoke against the backdrop of a national map with disputed territories included in the country. Russia was represented at this meeting by Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev.

The situation of India in the SCO from the very beginning was complicated by the border conflict with China, which, according to New Delhi, "illegally occupies" thousands of square kilometers of the territory of Ladakh (Himalayas). Under the 1963 border agreement with Pakistan, China received territories in occupied Kashmir, claims vast territories in the eastern sector of the border with the state of Arunachal Pradesh.

In 2020, Chinese troops crossed the Line of Actual Control (LFC) in Ladakh, there were fights, shootings and casualties. The ceasefire agreement introduced in 1962 was violated.

Moscow in these conditions managed to provide a platform for negotiations. In September 2020, Indian Foreign Minister Subramanyama Jaishankara and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi reached an agreement on the withdrawal of troops from disagreement zones along the LFC. This agreement was preceded by a meeting of the defense ministers of the two countries, which was also held in Moscow on September 4, 2020.

The Council of National Coordinators of the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at a meeting on March 10-13 in Tashkent approved the SCO action plan for 2021. The anniversary, twentieth summit of the organization is planned to be held on September 16-17 in Dushanbe. The idea of ​ ​ creating a new type of regional organization was formulated precisely in the Tajik capital on July 5, 2000 as part of the Dushanbe meeting of the leaders of the Shanghai Five. Obviously, among the priorities of the organization is to ensure the participation of India and Pakistan in the anniversary session. SCO Summit 2022 should be held in Samarkand.

During Sergey Lavrov's visit to India, the atmosphere around Russia and its relations with Ukraine heated up. Moscow fears provocations in the Donbass, realizing that regardless of the forms and consequences of Kiev's aggressive behavior against Donbass, the West will lay all the blame on Russia. Tired of everyone's skirmishes around the Nord Stream-2 project may at once be in the dusty "stockade" of memories, as well as the climate summit, which, as it were, became the "reason" for the meeting of a Vietnam War veteran and a veteran of Russian diplomacy. Frankly, the news that emerged as a result of Sergei Lavrov's visit to India, as well as the expected results of his visit to Pakistan, may lose any significance in a week, as well as the planned climate summit. But we will maintain the hope that Russia will still have to deal with other, overseas conflicts.

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