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Thread: The Coming India-Russia Split

  1. #91
    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    Abduls across the border are stressing that India is US' bet against an authoritarian and hegemonic China. What abduls are forgetting is that India is Russia' hedge against China too.
    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles!

    Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain!

  2. #92
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    We are in a captive relationship with the Russians, don't buy enough, they will sell more advanced stuff to the adversaries and/or withold support for existing systems.

    An insider look into what Russia actually thinks of India | The Print | Dec 18 2018

    NITIN PAI 18 December, 2018

    The fundamental challenge is that our relations with Russia are massively concentrated on defence trade.

    Last week, several members of India and Russia’s think tank community sat down for two days of conversation in Moscow. Since so much of our knowledge on Russian affairs comes filtered either through the prism of Western reportage or though pro-establishment Russian media, engaging in closed-door discussions with leading intellectuals and policy influencers was particularly valuable. Here are some of my impressions after participating in the talks.

    First, what came across quite clearly is that the Russian establishment sees itself in a state of siege. US sanctions have raised international pressure on the country — even if the Russians are loath to admit — and are pushing Moscow into greater isolation. Consequently, the paranoia of the siege mentality colours both elite and popular perceptions of international events. So the Russians might see, say, India’s closer engagement of the United States, Australia and Japan, in the form of the Quad, as partly inimical to their own interests. They are aware but do not give too much credence to the argument that the Quad is part of India’s effort to manage China’s rising power in our extended neighbourhood.

    Second, our Russian interlocutors uniformly disliked the idea of the ‘Indo-Pacific’. They see the term as an American construct to preserve US dominance in the region. They are miffed that the Indo-Pacific, which they see as implicitly excluding Russia, has replaced the term ‘Asia-Pacific’, which included them. Again, they are aware but don’t think important the Indian argument that ‘Asia-Pacific’ excluded us, while ‘Indo-Pacific’ doesn’t. It’s not merely semantics, because political, economic and security arrangements follow how a region is defined, and the Russians are having major FOMO.

    Third, the Russians are quite aware that China is a long-term threat to them, not least in the Far East where their border divides regions with massive demographic asymmetry. Population densities on the Chinese side of the border can be ten to a hundred times higher than on the Russian side. Further, Chinese influence is fast rising in the Central Asian republics that have long been in Russia’s sphere of influence. Yet, the Russians say they have no choice but to get onto the same side as China in the short-term, both for reasons of domestic economy as well as international politics. Therefore, where China is undermining the Western-created liberal international order in order to remake it to suit its own interests, Russia is mostly playing along.

    This is the second mistake the West made over the past two decades. The first was to underwrite China’s rise as a global power in the hope that it would become a ‘responsible stakeholder’ in the extant world order. The second was to push the boundaries of the European Union and NATO across what Russia saw as its geopolitical red lines. Western support for the ‘colour revolutions’ in Georgia and Ukraine fifteen years ago turned the Russia establishment into an adversary. In other words, the West not only nurtured its own strategic challenger, but also went on to provide it with a very useful ally.

    Fourth, while seeking Indian support in their contest with the United States, the Russians have begun to use Pakistan as a bogey to persuade New Delhi. One Russian analyst explicitly warned us that they would sell advanced military equipment to Pakistan — including fighter aircraft and helicopters — should the order book from India decline further. None of my colleagues at the conference blinked, but it appeared to me that the Russians were getting somewhat desperate with New Delhi’s drifting away.

    So, what should we make of our relations with Russia?

    The fundamental challenge remains that our relations with Russia are massively concentrated on defence trade. It is best to purchase defence equipment from a country with whom we have broad and deep trade relations; failing which, to try and build such relations with the country we’re buying arms from. Russia falls into the latter category. Yet, bilateral trade has remained around $10 billion for years, with the balance being in Russia’s favour. India trades more with Venezuela, Belgium and South Africa. To be sure, New Delhi has been aware of this. If you look at joint statements, you’ll find the need to expand trade and investment mentioned several times. Official targets have been set for trade and investment.

    Unfortunately, setting targets is very different from achieving them. That’s because in the Indian economy, at least, it is the private sector that drives trade and investment. I found that many of our Russian interlocutors had yet to appreciate that the Indian economy was driven by private industry and entrepreneurs, and that the latter had to be courted from Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and other hubs of growth.

    To be sure, governments can facilitate greater trade through measures such as permitting invoicing in local currencies. Yet, for trade to take off, businesspeople in both countries must be interested to explore and exploit opportunities. That they are not doing so merely suggests that there are lower-hanging fruits elsewhere.

    Will this happen? Or should the ‘normal’ in India-Russia relationship be geopolitical opportunism and transactional arms trade? It’s hard to tell. It’s worth making the effort though, as long as it’s possible to buy Russian gear without having to buy their line too.

    Nitin Pai is director of the Takshashila Institution, an independent centre for research and education in public policy.

  3. #93
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    In the past six months, India has signed the following arms deals with Russia

    - S-400 AD system

    - 4 Grigirov class frigates

    - AK203 rifles to be made in India

    - Akula class SSN to be delivered to India by 2025

    Looks like a major swing towards the Russians

    - Kamov helicopter JV ongoing

    CAATSA or no CAATSA India seems to have decided

  4. #94
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Russians behaving like Nepalis now. More links in the article.

    Russia Tries to Balance India and China | NI | Sept 11 2019

    With Russia moving ever closer to China, can Moscow manage to maintain its historically friendly ties with one of Beijing’s prospective regional rivals?

    by Dimitri Alexander Simes
    During Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Vladivostok for the annual Eastern Economic Forum earlier this week, Moscow and New Delhi signed fifteen agreements on areas ranging from defense to energy. The Indian leader also pledged $1 billion in credit to the Russian Far East, a region in which the Kremlin has long sought to spur economic growth.

    Although Modi was the forum’s chief guest this year, China was on the minds of many Western journalists observing the event. Unsurprisingly so. Chinese president Xi Jinping was the star of last year’s event and the convergence between Moscow and Beijing is one of the biggest geopolitical stories of this decade. With Russia moving ever closer to China, can Moscow manage to maintain its historically friendly ties with one of Beijing’s prospective regional rivals?

    With Modi in attendance, the Eastern Economic Forum celebrated its fourth anniversary. The event was inaugurated near the start of Russia’s economic pivot eastward, when the Kremlin turned to Asia, especially China, for trade and investment after finding itself increasingly shunned by the West over its actions in Ukraine. Acquiring the funds to promote economic activity in Russia’s long underdeveloped Far Eastern regions was among Moscow’s top priorities.

    Several years later, the policy is far from a clear success. Artyom Lukin, deputy director for research at the Far Eastern Federal University’s School of Regional and International Studies, says that the results of Moscow’s efforts to attract Asian investment to its Far East are so far lackluster.

    “Unfortunately, Russia’s much talked about pivot to Asia has not yet brought an increase in Asian investment for the Russian Far East, including Chinese ones despite our close political partnership with Beijing,” he said.

    According to Lukin’s research, there are only four major Chinese investment projects in the Russian Far East and their total value is less than a billion dollars. The four projects are a casino near Vladivostok, a coal mining deposit in the Trans-Baikal Territory, a gold mining deposit also in the Trans-Baikal Territory, and an iron ore mining company in the Jewish Autonomous Region.

    Despite all of Moscow’s incentives, Chinese and other foreign investors are not flocking to the Russian Far East for two primary reasons. First, Western sanctions impose a sufficiently high cost to deter many investors. Second, extracting natural resources, the Russian Far East’s major selling point, is a capital-intensive task due to harsh environmental conditions and a lack of appropriate infrastructure. For prospective foreign businesspeople, a return on their expensive investment is far from guaranteed.

    Many Chinese investors, consequently, have opted to seek raw materials in places like Brazil or Indonesia rather than in the Russian Far East.

    With Chinese investment underwhelming so far, Moscow has started looking towards New Delhi. Lukin explained that featuring Modi as the chief guest at this year’s Eastern Economic Forum was partially motivated by a desire to spark a greater sense of urgency in Beijing.


    “I think that by inviting Modi to Vladivostok, Putin is probably expecting to incite some jealousy from China, to show China that if you don’t want to invest in the Far East then the Indians will,” he said.

    At the Eastern Economic Forum this week, Moscow and Delhi signed a number of high-profile memorandums of understanding. They include: plans to develop a maritime corridor from Vladivostok to the Indian port city of Chennai, a deal for India to manufacture spare parts for Russian military equipment, an agreement by Indian companies H-Energy and Petronet LNG to purchase Russian LNG, and a joint mining project between Indian state firm Coal India Limited and two Russian entities.


    Moreover, Modi announced that India would extend $1 billion in credit to economic development projects in the Russian Far East.

    Nevertheless, India has a long way to go before it can compete with China for the Russian market in the Russian Far East or anywhere else in the country. Last year, the trade turnover between Russia and India was $11 billion. During that same time period, the trade between Russia and China was valued at $107 billion—making Beijing Russia’s largest trading partner.

    In defense, the story is similar. Although Russia and India have a long and rich history of military cooperation, Beijing has eclipsed New Delhi as a partner for Moscow in several key respects. Viktor Murakhovsky, editor in chief of the Russian defense magazine Arsenal of the Fatherland, stated that while Russia is formally strategic partners with both China and India, its military coordination with the former is much deeper than with the latter.

    “We have strategic partnerships with both China and India,” he said. “But we see very well that the strategic partnership with China is of a different magnitude and quality than the one with India.”

    “If we talk about interactions between the militaries of both countries, joint military exercises, and joint military planning, then our relations with India in this sphere are mostly formal and symbolic," Murakhovsky told me.

    At the same time, Murakhovsky noted that there is greater joint weapons production, exchange of military technologies, and arms sales between Russia and India than between Russia and China.

    All of the Russian experts the National Interest spoke to expressed confidence that Moscow won’t have to choose between Beijing and New Delhi. They argued that despite Western media reports of a burgeoning rivalry between India and China, the two countries are far from adversaries. Looking at Sino-Indian relations in recent years, the Russian experts saw several encouraging signs, such as Beijing and New Delhi’s successful de-escalation of a border crisis in 2017, the absence of major military deployments from either country targeting the other, and the positive attitudes displayed by Modi and Xi towards each other.

    These factors combined have led Moscow to conclude that neither Beijing nor New Delhi will object to its efforts to maintain friendly relations with the other. Moreover, some Russian analysts see an opportunity in the growing tensions between the West and India over Kashmir and human rights more broadly to bring the three countries closer together.

    Andranik Migranyan, an informal advisor to the Russian presidential administration and a professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, told me that by censuring Modi, the West is repeating the mistakes it made towards Russia in the lead up to the Kremlin’s post-2014 pivot to China.

    He predicted that if the West continued applying pressure on India, then New Delhi might move to resolve its disagreements with Beijing and join it and Russia in a coalition against Western human-rights diplomacy.

    “In the same way that American actions pushed Russia into China’s embrace, growing Western depiction of Modi as an authoritarian populist demagogue and accusations that India is violating democratic norms and human rights could push India into an embrace of Russia and China, despite the contradictions between Beijing and New Delhi,” Migranyan stated.

    While many prominent Western media outlets and the British government condemned India’s recent moves to consolidate control over Kashmir, Russia defended them. China, on the other hand, sided with Pakistan and called for the UN Security Council to review the issue.

    Moscow’s solidarity did not go unnoticed in New Delhi. At the forum, Modi spoke of Russo-Indian common front against Western interference. Standing alongside Putin, the leader of the world’s most populous democracy proclaimed, “We are both against outside influence in internal matters of any nation.”

    Dimitri Alexander Simes is a contributor to the National Interest.

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