By Varonika for Dispatch News Desk News Agency
The nuclear India in South Asia had been a long-time friend of former Soviet Union as well as of Federation of Russia. India is still very important for Kremlin though New Delhi is the strategic partner of United States in South Asia and guarding US interests as far as China waters.
India is still a biggest buyer of Russian military hardware in South Asia with a strong wish of transfer of Russian technology to India under “Make in India” banner. However, President Vladimir Putin is cautious of transfer of latest technology to New Delhi with a possibility of sharing same Russian technology with Indian strategic partner— United States. Military circles in Moscow believe that India wants to move ahead from Make in India to “Made in India” through reverse technology therefore sensitive military hardware deals are at halt at the moment.
Kremlin is looking at another nuclear state of the South Asia while forgetting bitter past between the two—Pakistan— and the former Soviet Union. Was Pakistan responsible for fall of USSR or Soviet economy or Mikhail Gorbachev ((Горби) stabbed in Soviet belly? are by-gone debates for new generation living in Moscow. It is already more than quarter of a century now.
India and Pakistan are pitched in long lasting animosity, mistrust and enmity since their independence from British Empire in 1947. “Situation between two rivals must not hamper advances of Russian diplomacy in South Asia”, is focal point that Kremlin is dealing with care.
Since the visit of Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu to Islamabad in November 2014, New Delhi looks uncomfortable with Kremlin and is constantly pushing Russia to halt bilateral relations with Pakistan. How can Russia accept Indian viewpoint over its relations with Pakistan when New Delhi is not asked by Russia to redesign its relations with United States?
Gleb Aleksandrovich Ivashentsov who belongs to cadre of Soviet diplomats and knows what actually happened before the demise of former Soviet Union believes that Russia cannot design its diplomatic relations with Pakistan under the instructions of New Delhi. Ivashentsov graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1967 and served as the Soviet and Russian Consul General to Bombay (present-day Mumbai) from 1991 to 1995. He also served as the Director of the Second Asian Department (2AD) and the Third Asian Department (3AD) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and therefore understands leverage of Pakistan in regional countries—particularly in Afghanistan.
According to media reports, Ivashentsov during a video conference held between Russian Embassy in New Delhi and Moscow just before International Security Conference of Moscow (held on April 4 and 5) categorically stated that refusing dialogue with Pakistan would not be in the interest of Russia as Pakistan is a major player in the region with over 200 million people.
“It is a nuclear state. It is a country which plays an important role in regional and international matters,” Ivashentsov said through video conferencing from Moscow. View point of Ivashentsov matters in Russian diplomacy as he is still a member of Russian foreign ministry’s official think tank Russian Council for International Affairs (RIAC).
“Russia and Pakistan perform military exercises “Friendship”( дружба) since 2016 while Russia and India also perform military exercises “Indra” (Индра). There is no harm to have bilateral relations with New Delhi and Islamabad. India should not object Russian relations. Pakistan is sincerely working for peace in Afghanistan while Indian strategic partner —United States is allegedly spoiling any such initiative of peace in war-ridden Afghanistan”, believe Russian diplomatic circles in Moscow.
Legendary diplomat Zamir Kabulov who had been serving in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan also believes that Pakistan is a “must component” for Afghan peace talks. Zamir Kabulov who is now Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan believes that Pakistan is a key regional player referring to Afghan issue. Zamir Kabulov strongly criticized US policy of putting pressure on Islamabad in past when US accused Pakistan for hosting fighting faction of Taliban. Kabulov was of the view that putting pressure on Pakistan may seriously destabilise the region-wide security situation and result in negative consequences for Afghanistan.
“New Delhi should understand that Russia is not having relations with Pakistan at the cost of India and Pakistan has never objected Kremlin’s relations with New Delhi. Any further objections from New Delhi over Russian relations with Pakistan may hamper cordial relations New Delhi still enjoys with Kremlin”, believe several Think Tanks in Moscow.
The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of Dispatch News Desk.