Russian President Vladimir Putin’s considers China to be its most important strategic partner while India holds economic and geopolitical importance for Moscow, wrote US Senator Marco Rubio in a column for NAR.
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With the ongoing standoff between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, the senator warned of the growing role of Russia as a mediator.
Marco Rubio is a US Senator and the Acting Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Co-Chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
According to him, Putin’s goal is to enrich himself and his inner circle at the expense of the Russian people and even by his “foreign adventurism”.
“Having antagonized many nations to its west and finding itself diplomatically isolated as a result, Moscow has in recent years looked to a fellow authoritarian regime in Beijing to develop a rapport. This relationship has continued in the form of enhanced cooperation in digital infrastructure, military exercises, as well as growing trade relations,” explained Rubio.
On the other hand, India is the second-largest defence importer in the world and the chief recipient of Russian arms in 2014–18, according to a Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report.
The strength of this long-standing relationship was recently seen again after the barbaric border clash between soldiers of India and China at Galwan Valley, Indian Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh rushed to Russia to approve major defence deals with Moscow, apprehending a further escalation with China.
As reported earlier by EurAsian Times, during the Russia visit, Rajnath Singh signed deals with Russia approving proposals to acquire 21 Mig-29 and 12 Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft. Similar deals over the years have now gotten India at a position where 86 per cent of the defence equipment in the Indian armed forces is of Russian origin which shows the heavy dependence that the Indian Army has on Russia.
However, Rubio states that even though Moscow considers India crucial for economic and geopolitical reasons, but “Putin shouldn’t count on helicopter purchases to maintain friendly relations with India as he blatantly cosies up to China.”
Russia was earlier kept in the loop about the India-China standoff. The three countries also participated in the Russia-China-India virtual conference. However, after the brutal clash that broke out in Galwan valley in June resulting in 20 Indian casualties and an unconfirmed number on the Chinese side, Russia had ruled out mediating between India and China following the violent clashes.
“I do not think that India and China need any help, any kind of assistance specifically aimed at helping them resolve disputes,” said Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister.
“As soon as the border incidents took place, meetings were held and contact was established between the military command on the ground and the foreign ministers. As I understand, these contacts are ongoing, and neither party has made any statement indicating a lack of willingness to negotiate based on generally acceptable approaches. We naturally expect it to continue that way,” he added.
Rubio concluded by saying that even the Russian people “are left with an anaemic economy, a rigged electoral system, and suppression of their basic freedoms.” Along with that, Putin’s foreign strategy is similar to this and is only aimed at enriching him and his inner circle.
“Those considering relying on the Kremlin should realize that they will have no long-term stable partner in Russia while he remains in power,” he warned.