Perizat RISBEK KIZI
For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the Russian state is going to India, with which Moscow has long-standing ties. Thus, the President of Russia will visit India on December 6. An aide to the President of Russia Yuri Ushakov told reporters that at the end of the summit it is planned to sign about ten bilateral agreements.
According to Ushakov, the Russian delegation is small – in addition to the president, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin and Ushakov himself will take part in the negotiations.
Meanwhile, the Russian Ambassador to New Delhi Nikolai Kudashev told reporters that the meeting between the leaders of Russia and India would result in a large-scale joint statement. “This will be a big political event, especially when the demand for the development of bilateral relations and the formation of a space for cooperation in Eurasia is growing. We can reasonably expect a large-scale joint political statement following the summit. Work is underway on it. It will be a document of great importance, covering practically all sides of bilateral ties of our international cooperation,” he said.
Emphasizing that the assumptions about the direction of India from Russia towards the West are groundless, Nikolai Kudashev told: “Do our positions on these issues differ in different directions? Far from it! They are now closer than ever.” The diplomat recalled that Moscow supports New Delhi’s application for permanent membership in the UN Security Council, and the views of Russia and India on world problems are close.
Assessment of the Upcoming Meeting
In an interview with Eurasia.Expert, Shoaib Khan, a researcher at the Center for Central Eurasian Studies at the University of Mumbai, predicted that the meeting will witness a renewed framework for military-technical cooperation for the next decade. Also, according to the expert, India and Russia are at the stage of completing negotiations on the Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement (RELOS), which is likely to be signed during the summit or at the meeting of the foreign and defense ministers in the “2 + 2” format.
In this sense, commenting on the revival of communication in the 2 + 2 format, Nezavisimaya Gazeta (NG) writes that India communicates with the United States in a similar format, which in turn means that Washington did not manage to turn Delhi into a military ally, despite its joining the informal QUAD alliance, which includes America, Japan and Australia.
MGIMO professor Sergei Lunev also outlined his views to NG on the prospects for Putin’s visit. In his opinion, the leaders will discuss China, because this is one of the main issues in bilateral relations. The professor stressed that the differences are obvious: India perceives China as its main opponent, and Russia as its main ally.
Meanwhile, the influential Times of India newspaper claims that the Indian troops urgently need defense equipment: after all, the conflict on the border with China has not been resolved. Therefore, according to the newspaper, the Ministry of Defense wants to replace outdated helicopters with modern ones. In other words, the contradictions between Moscow’s two key partners in Asia – Delhi and Beijing – are reality.
Against this background, Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, noted that Moscow needs to work more closely with New Delhi as it continues to develop the idea of a Greater Eurasian Partnership. For example, maintaining strategic partnerships with both India and China at the bilateral and trilateral levels (RIC) is critical to overall geopolitical stability in Eurasia. According to the expert, Russia, which has neither ambitions nor resources to dominate in Greater Eurasia, could play a key role in maintaining the Eurasian balance, which requires a Russian-Indo-Chinese understanding.