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The Issues At Stake…

Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin believes that he can resolve the ongoing diplomatic crisis between India and China. The Russian strongman recently said that he would soon hold a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the issue.

Speaking at a media conference in Moscow, President Putin said: “Yes, I do know that there are some issues related to India-China relations, but there are always a lot of issues between neighbouring countries. I know the attitude of both the Prime Minister of India and also the President of China. These are very responsible people and they earnestly treat one another with utmost respect and I believe that they will always arrive at a solution to any issue that they might face.” At the same time, he stressed: “But, it is important that no other extra-regional power is interfering with that.” According to Diplomats, the Russian president indirectly advised the US not to get involved in the Sino-Indian crisis.

President Putin

Interestingly, President Putin expressed his desire to mediate between the two Asian neighbours exactly a year after the Indian and Chinese Armed Forces had clashed in Ladakh. The two Armies have retreated from the Pangong Tso or Pangong Lake region. Pangong is an endorheic lake, spanning eastern Ladakh and West Tibet, which is situated at an elevation of 4,225mt. However, New Delhi and Beijing have not yet reached an agreement on retreating troops from other areas. Russia, as a common friend, had helped both India and China reduce tensions immediately after the armed conflict. Hence, the Russian president’s latest remark is significant.

President Putin also expressed his views on the activities of QUAD or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, an informal strategic alliance between the US, Japan, Australia and India. Beijing believes that the four countries have formed the alliance to counter Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific Region. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov, too, recently criticised the alliance. On this particular issue, the Russian president stated: “We are not participating in the QUAD, it is not my place to give my assessment to any other country participating in any initiative because every sovereign nation has the right to decide with whom and to what extent they are building their relations.” He added: “I only believe that any partnership between countries should be aimed at making friends against anyone, No.

PM Modi with President Xi

When asked whether the growing proximity between Moscow and Beijing would impact the Moscow-New Delhi security and defence co-operation, President Putin said that relations between India and Russia were developing quite rapidly, as it was based on “trust”. “We highly appreciate such a high level of co-operation with our Indian friends. These relations are of a strategic nature. They cover a whole range of avenues of our co-operation in economy, energy and hi-tech. In defence, and I am not just talking about purchase of Russian arms… we have very deep profound relations with India based on trust,” he insisted.

The Geopolitical Experts are of the opinion that the Russian president badly wants to normalise ties between India and China in an attempt to counter the dominance of the US, Japan and Australia in the Indo-Pacific Region. The increasing proximity between the US, Japan, Australia, India and South Korea has not only started posing a serious threat to China, but also to Russia and North Korea. However, it is quite difficult to predict the future of QUAD, in a changing global geopolitical landscape.

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