India-Russia friendship steady; Moscow will turn more to Asia: S Jaishankar | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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India-Russia friendship steady; Moscow will turn more to Asia: S Jaishankar

Sep 27, 2023 11:38 AM IST

Jaishankar’s comments came in the wake of criticism from segments in the US about India’s position on the war in Ukraine where he has refused to condemn or criticise Moscow directly

Claiming that the India-Russia relationship has been among the steadiest of all relationships between world powers for seven decades, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said that Russia will turn even more to Asia in the coming years.

Jaishankar said that there was an understanding in both countries that “as big powers in the Asian continent”. (S Jaishankar)
Jaishankar said that there was an understanding in both countries that “as big powers in the Asian continent”. (S Jaishankar)

In a conversation at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York, when asked about the Russia-China “no limits friendship” and its implications for Moscow’s ties with India, Jaishankar, who trained as a Russian language speaker in his training during his early years in the Indian Foreign Services (IFS) and then served in Moscow, said, “Russia has historically seen itself as a European power even though it is spread across both Europe and Asia”.

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Jaishankar said that his expectation would be that since the turn of events from 2022 due to its relationship with Europe and West been “so severely disrupted”, Russia is “turning to Asia and other parts of the world”, but primarily Asia because that’s where economic action is.

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“It is also an Asian power even if hasn’t seen itself primarily as that. I would predict that Russia will make strenuous efforts to build alternative relationships, many of which will be in Asia,” Jaishankar said, in an echo of a point he had made in an interview to The Economist in June.

This, he said, will be reflected in economy and trade.

While saying the Russia-China relationship will have salience, Jaishankar didn’t delve into it though it is assumed to be a major factor in the calculus of Indian policymakers. Instead, he chose to focus on the Delhi-Moscow relationship.

“Our own relations have been extremely steady since the mid 1950s. It is interesting if you look at last 70 years of world politics, US-Russia, Russia-China, Europe-Russia, almost every one of these have had big ups and downs. There have been very bad and good periods of relationship. The India Russia relationship has held very steady. We have had the Soviet and post Soviet period.”

Jaishankar said that there was an understanding in both countries that “as big powers in the Asian continent”, there was a “structural basis” for both countries having to get along and wanting to get along.

“We take great care to make sure that relationship is working”, he said.

Jaishankar’s comments came in the wake of criticism from segments in the US about India’s position on the war in Ukraine where he has refused to condemn or criticise Moscow directly.

But the US administration has shown an understanding of the India-Russia relationship, its history, Delhi’s dependence on military supplies, and has not made it a determining issue in the relationship.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Prashant Jha is the Washington DC-based US correspondent of Hindustan Times. He is also the editor of HT Premium. Jha has earlier served as editor-views and national political editor/bureau chief of the paper. He is the author of How the BJP Wins: Inside India's Greatest Election Machine and Battles of the New Republic: A Contemporary History of Nepal.

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