Lavrov criticised the insistence of Western powers on a “rules-based world order” and said the focus should be on international law.
Lavrov criticised the insistence of Western powers on a “rules-based world order” and said the focus should be on international law.

India deserves to be included in UNSC: Russian minister

Lavrov criticised the US-backed concept of the Indo-Pacific and a “rules-based world order”, saying they are either divisive or aimed at containing China.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Rezaul H Laskar
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2020 02:07 AM IST

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday said India, Brazil and an African country “absolutely deserve” to be included in a reformed UN Security Council.

India, he said, is one of the new centres of economic might and political influence that will be key to the formation of a multi-polar world.

Lavrov criticised the US-backed concept of the Indo-Pacific and a “rules-based world order”, saying they are either divisive or aimed at containing China.

Lavrov made the remarks at the Raisina Dialogue, a think tank event backed by the external affairs ministry. He also criticised unilateral sanctions. Much of Lavrov’s criticism was directed at the US-backed concept of the Indo-Pacific, which he said wasn’t a “benign” format and kept out East African and Persian Gulf countries.

“When we asked the initiators about the difference between the Indo-Pacific strategy and Asia Pacific region cooperation, they said Indo-Pacific is more open, democratic. If you look at it, it is not at all the case,” he said.

“It is an attempt to reconfigure the existing structures in Asia Pacific and to move from Asean-centred consensus seeking forms of interaction to something which would be divisive.”

Russia, he said, appreciates India’s position, which says Indo-Pacific shouldn’t be discussed in a way that implies that some country should be contained.

Lavrov said: “Why do you need to call it Indo-Pacific? And you know the answer — the answer is to contain China. It is not even hidden. The Indian friends are smart enough to understand this trap and not to get into it.”

Russia prefers to promote formats such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Russia-India-China (RIC) and the Brazil-Russia-India-China grouping which “are not divisive, but which unite”, he said.

India’s position on the Indo-Pacific was clearly enunciated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018 at the Shangri-la Dialogue, where he said the country envisages it as an inclusive and open concept that is not directed against any country.

Lavrov also criticised the insistence of Western powers on a “rules-based world order” and said the focus should be on international law. Western powers were dismissing the rules embodied in international law and the UN Charter, he added.

“What is wrong with international law? Why do our Western friends insist...that rules-based world order must be key, not international law?” he asked.

He cited the example of a former UN secretary general mentioning in a report the need to counter violent extremism. “We asked, why not extremism in any form? Then we were told because that is how the Western countries had framed it,” he said.

Without naming the US, Lavrov said unilaterally imposed sanctions wouldn’t work. “This is not diplomacy,” he said.

Russia is encouraged by the interest being shown in the Eurasia economic arrangement and feels this process will move forward, he added.

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