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Russian foreign minister accuses US of undermining Moscow’s ties with New Delhi


Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has accused the West particularly the US of trying to undermine Moscow’s close and privileged ties with India, in what has been the first such comments from Moscow in recent years.

The minister further alleged that the US is putting tough pressure on Delhi to undermine Indo-Russian cooperation in the area of military technical cooperation (MTC). Taking a dig at the Indo-Pacific concept, Lavrov also accused the West of engaging India against China through the Qaud and Indo-Pacific construct.

Lavrov made these remarks on Tuesday at the Moscow-based think tank Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC).

“Obviously, it is trying to restore the unipolar model of world order. ‘Poles’ like Russia and China are unlikely to be subordinate to it. However, India is currently an object of the western countries’ persistent, aggressive and devious policy as they are trying to engage it in anti-China games by promoting Indo-Pacific strategies, the so-called ‘Quad’ while, at the same time, the West is attempting to undermine our close partnership and privileged relations with India. This is the goal of the US’ very tough pressure on New Delhi in the MTC area,” noted Lavrov in rather unusual public comments against the pressure from the West on India-Russia strategic partnership.

The minister, however, lauded the format of regular dialogue between India and Russia.

Russia continues to be India’s principal defence supplier and has assured to maintain its supplies during the ongoing crisis along the Line of Actual Control. Defence minister Rajnath Singh visited Moscow twice this year and defence supplies for Indian troops along the LAC have continued uninterrupted from Moscow. Simultaneously, Russia emerged as a political factor amid the Sino-Indo crisis through quiet backchannel diplomacy to reduce tensions besides providing platforms for India-China dialogue through SCO-BRICS-RIC.

While Moscow has reservations against the American Indo-Pacific concept, it has been holding dialogue with Delhi for bilateral partnership in the Indo-Pacific region including Indian investments in Far-East Russia and Chennai-Vladivostok maritime link. Indian and Russian navies have held exercises in eastern Indian Ocean twice this year.

Lavrov also took potshot at the EU-led multilateral order. “Judging by everything we see, the European Union (EU) has given up its claims to its role as a pole in the multipolar system that is taking shape for objective reasons… Germany’s recent policy on many issues convinces us that this is exactly what Berlin wants to do, preserving its claims to full leadership in the EU. France has a somewhat different position. The trend towards the EU’s renunciation of its ambitions to be a pole in a multipolar system appears to prevail. If France wants to claim this role, we will have to wait and see what happens,” he said.

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