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India-Russia ties are under stress because of US approach: Envoy

February 06, 2023 18:51 IST

Russia on Monday accused the US of "actively" exploiting the "contradictions" between India and China to its advantage and asserted Moscow and New Delhi accumulated mutual trust and confidence based on decades-old ties that would help the two sides to deal with the current geopolitical turbulence.

IMAGE: Russian Ambassador to India Denis Alipov addresses the conference 'Next Steps in India-Russia Strategic Partnership; Old Friends New Horizons', February 6, 2023, New Delhi. Photograph: ANI Digital

In his address at a conference, Russian Ambassador to India Denis Alipov, at the same time, said that the India-Russia ties are "under stress" because of the tectonic geo-political shifts in view of the "arrogant" and "belligerent" approach by the US-led West on the Ukraine conflict.

The envoy said Moscow wants to expand its economic engagement with Islamabad as a "weak" Pakistan is not good for the entire region, including India.

In a tweet later, he clarified that he meant a "destabilised" Pakistan is not in the interest of anyone in the region.


The conference on 'Next Steps in India-Russia Strategic Partnership; Old Friends New Horizons' was organised by the India Writes Network and the Centre for Global India Insights.

Responding to a question, Alipov said Russia would like to see normalisation of India-China relations and that it would hugely benefit the whole world's security and not only Asian security.

"We understand there are very serious impediments to that, a very serious border problem between the two countries. We had a border problem with China, an armed conflict with the Chinese at some stage of the problem, it took us around 40 years to negotiate but ultimately this is the only way to find a solution," he said.

"I am not going to suggest what India or China should do... This is entirely a bilateral matter between India and China and we don't interfere with that.

"But the sooner there is a normalisation between the two countries, the better for the whole world. We will do the utmost to facilitate (that) if our efforts are needed," Alipov said.

Explaining his comments on India-Russia ties coming under "stress", the envoy pointed out the impact of Western sanctions on trade and economic engagement between the two sides.

Alopov said Russia wants to diversify its overall cooperation with India and the ties between the two countries are not directed against anyone.

On Russia's overall ties with India, he said, "Internationally, we have always been on the same page, again something very contrasting with the US approach to India."

"Unlike them (the US), we don't need to explain to each other and the world that close partnership between us was not possible in the past for some reason," he said.

Alipov claimed that the approach of the US towards India could change if it finds a new rapprochement with China or New Delhi manages to mend relations with Beijing.

"That, from the US perspective, will be a disaster.

"But from ours, and I believe from India's and China's point of view, it would be the most favourable outcome for the world at large. Any of these scenarios, America's hegemony would suffer," he said.

"That is why it actively exploits the contradictions between India and China to its advantage," he said, adding a new paradigm of democracies versus autocracies is emerging so that the US retains the decisive say amongst its like-minded partners.

Alipov said India and Russia have accumulated a solid experience of "mutual trust, understanding and support" over the last few decades which gives the two sides a sense of confidence in dealing with current geopolitical turbulence.

The ambassador said Russia steadfastly supports India's growing global role and its aspirations to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

"India's significance for Russia as a key international partner is clearly going to grow. Much has been done to solidify our unique and multifaceted special and privileged strategic partnership. There is a rich agenda catering to the requirements of global transformation," he said.

The ties between India and Russia remained strong notwithstanding Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. India's import of Russian crude oil has gone up significantly in the last few months despite increasing disquiet over it in many Western countries.

India has not yet condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and it has been maintaining that the crisis must be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue.

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