Russia’s ties with China, Pakistan disturb India - experts

The BRICS format has not helped bring China and India closer.

The BRICS format has not helped bring China and India closer.

Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti
Moscow’s military engagement with Pakistan, alleged dialogue with the Taliban, and growing ties with the Taliban are upsetting New Delhi, experts said at a recent conference. However, a source in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said Russia-India diplomatic ties were strong and growing.

Even as Moscow and New Delhi are currently trying to take economic relations to a new level, Russia’s ties with India’s major rivals in the region may prove to be an irritant between the long-term allies, experts who took part at a recent forum in Delhi held by the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and the Vivekananda International Foundation, told a Russian publication.

The Kommersant daily cited Vivekananda International Foundation Director and former Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army Nirmal Chander Vij as saying that New Delhi was concerned about “the growing military cooperation between Moscow and Islamabad and Chinese expansion in Eurasia.”

“Russia can sell guns to Pakistan, but in return has to be ready that the ‘business as usual’ principle will stop working,” Vice Admiral (Retired) Anup Singh told the paper.

Former Indian ambassador to Russia Prabhat Shukla criticized Russia’s alleged outreach to the Taliban’s moderate wing and added that “attempts to distinguish Taliban movement from the forbidden in Russia terrorist group ISIS are way off the mark.”

RIAC expert Vasily Kashin believes that a lack of information is currently leading to myths being formed in India about Russia-China and Russia-Pakistan relations.  He added that there is a clear imbalance in Russia-India-China relations.

“It is clearly a subversive tactic for those with vested interests to hype Russia’s engagement with Pakistan. There was a ridiculous article in a Pakistani publication that Russia, China and Pakistan were formalizing some kind of alliance. Such reports should not be dignified with a response,” the source told RBTH on the condition of anonymity.

The expert said both Beijing and Delhi are strategic partners for Moscow, however military ties with China show a year-on-year growth, while cooperation with India in the same are is “far more humble,” Kashin told Kommersant.

A source in India’s Ministry of External affairs told RBTH on April 5 that India has repeatedly refuted media reports that claim that there was some friction between Moscow and New Delhi.

“It is clearly a subversive tactic for those with vested interests to hype Russia’s engagement with Pakistan. There was a ridiculous article in a Pakistani publication that Russia, China and Pakistan were formalizing some kind of alliance. Such reports should not be dignified with a response,” the source said on the condition of anonymity, as he was not authorized to talk to the media.

“Our ties with Russia are strong and robust and we are preparing to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties,” he added.

Economic ties

Anderi Kortunov, Director of Russian Council on International Affairs, told Kommersant that politically speaking “India needs more exclusiveness from Russia,” while setting the new pace for Moscow-Delhi economic relations was a “high-priority task” for the Kremlin.

Russia and India are strengthening cooperation in investment projects and the diamond industry. Charge D'affaires of the Russian Embassy Anatoly Kargapolov told the paper that the countries were involved in major mining and energy projects

The diplomat cited the example of ONGC Videsh Ltd, which has a 49.9 percent stake in the Vankor oil and gas project in the Krasnoyarsk territory. He also mentioned plans by Hong Kong-based Indian company KGK Group’s plans to invest in the diamond industry in the Primorye Territory in the Russian Far East.

Vaidyanathan Sivakumar, Executive Director of Sun Group, which invests in Russia and India, told Kommersant that there was a need to diversify trade and economic ties between the countries. He identified innovative technology as one such area for cooperation.

Read more: Russia, India to expand defense cooperation in 2017 – experts

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