SOURCE : TNN
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to New Delhi comes at an interesting juncture. Russia is an opponent of the Quad and has allied its interests with China’s. However, India-Russia defence cooperation has a long history and New Delhi remains interested in Russian platforms like the S-400. In fact, Lavrov said that discussions are underway to manufacture additional Russian military equipment in India under the Make in India initiative.
That Lavrov’s comment came even as India took part in a Quad plus France naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal highlights the predicament that marks the India-Russia relationship today. And the reason for this predicament is China, which has emerged as India’s main strategic rival. China’s expansionist ambitions directly put India in its crosshairs as exemplified by the standoff in eastern Ladakh. Therefore, India has no choice but to align with the US and like-minded democracies to balance China’s aggressive approach.
In such a scenario, if Russia really wants to strengthen the strategic relationship with India, it must get China to rein in its aggressive posture. But given that Beijing today is essentially the senior partner in the relationship with Moscow, the latter’s ability to influence the Chinese leadership remains in doubt. Therefore, Russia must accept India’s participation in the Quad. Meanwhile, New Delhi should obviously continue doing business with Moscow where it suits its national interest. Finding the right balance is the key in the fast changing geopolitical order.