New Delhi: Russia Monday said its growing bilateral relationship with China and Pakistan are “independent” of its ties with India, and once again reiterated its concerns over the Indo-Pacific initiative as well as the Quad Security Dialogue (Quad).
Nikolay Kudashev, Russian Ambassador to India, said Moscow is “friend” to both New Delhi and Beijing, and Russia wants both these countries to have a dialogue and resolve the border standoff at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.
“As a friend to both India and China, we would encourage enhanced dialogue between both the governments. Between New Delhi and Beijing, we believe this is key for the future progress ties and to the regional security and stability,” the ambassador said Monday at a press conference.
He added that Russia does not have issues with the “Indian vision” of the Indo-Pacific strategy and that it is not a party to the South China Sea dispute that China has with other countries.
“We are not party to the tensions between India and China, nor are we party to the South China Sea dispute, but our preference and our message to the region will be an unifying agenda. The concept of the larger Eurasian partnership which should bring the two ends together should be considered that brings in all visions — Indian, Chinese, Russian and others — to a common platform,” he said.
This comes days after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the western world, particularly the US, is making India a party to “anti-China” policies like Indo-Pacific and Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, also called the Quad.
India responded stating that New Delhi enjoys a “friendly and long-standing relationship” with Moscow, which stands on its own merit and that it follows an Indo-Pacific strategy stance “for a free, open and inclusive region”.
On Russia’s growing ties with Pakistan, the ambassador said Moscow’s relationship with Islamabad is poised to further develop and it is “independent” of their ties with India.
“Russia’s ties with Pakistan is independent in nature similar to our ties with India. We are going to develop this relationship (with Pakistan) further. We are focused on fighting terrorism, drugs smuggling and other issues. It is based on the same values based on which we have ties with India,” he added.
‘There is no unified vision for Indo-Pacific’
Roman Babushkin, Deputy Chief of Mission, Russian Embassy in India, said: “While we understand India’s concept of Indo-Pacific, let’s not forget that there is no unified vision for Indo-Pacific currently because we know that many countries promote this vision and some are non-inclusive, while India’s concept of Indo-Pacific is inclusive.”
“But non-inclusive mechanisms have been created and that leads to some apprehensions,” he added.
Babushkin also said there is no regionwide concept of the Indo-Pacific like the East Asia Summit.
The summit is a premier forum in the Asia-Pacific region dealing with issues relating to security and defence. It has 18 members including the 10 ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) along with Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States.
Babushkin said the Indo-Pacific is not creating a “rules-based” order as there are no rules that have been laid down by the strategy.
“These are attempts by some countries to create more containment and more lines of alienation in the region that threatens to jeopardise the basic principles for regional cooperation, for example, the unity of ASEAN,” he said.
Babushkin also said the Quad is “detrimental to the region’s stability, security”.
‘Defence ties between Russia & India will continue to grow’
According to Babushkin, India and Russia has opened a new chapter in their defence cooperation with the export of Brahmos missiles to Philippines.
He said soon the Indo-Russian joint venture (JV) firm BrahMos Aerospace will start exporting these missiles to other countries.
On the issue of US imposing sanction on Turkey for purchasing the S-400 air defence system, a weapon that India is also buying, ambassador Kudashev said, “Those are unilateral actions… What has been the outcome of those sanctions in last four years? None.”
Russia also said it is looking forward to participating in the Aero-India 2021 as it is going to be one of the biggest exhibitors by demonstrating Su-57, Su-35 and MiG-35 fighter jets, helicopters Ka-52, Ka-226, Mi-17B-5, Mi-26 as well S-400 and Buk systems, among others.
“As far as current deals are concerned, we are advancing well, including with S-400 supplies. If relevant decisions to start works related to Ka-226 helicopters and AK-203 rifles production are expedited, soon we will see good progress, which is especially important due to deep interests expressed by the Indian armed forces,” Kudashev said.