Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev on Tuesday advocated dialogue between India and China to resolve their differences over the ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) project.
Calling OBOR an “economic venture” from Russia’s perspective, the envoy said: “We will favour China and India coming to some sort of understanding bilaterally for preferred routes, ways and means of communications, of connectivity”.
The envoy was speaking at an event to release a report jointly produced by Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and Vivekananda International foundation (VIF) titled ‘70th anniversary of Russia-India Relations: New Horizon of Privileged Partnership’. The report studies ties between India and Russia — a relationship that appears to increasingly losing momentum in the wake of changed regional and global dynamics.
”The growing friendship between Russia and China, as well as Moscow’s appreciation of the Belt & Road Initiative and the plans to co-develop the Eurasian Economic Union with the Silk Road Economic Belt, are being watched closely by India. India has reservations about the geopolitical consequences of the Belt & Road Initiative, as it will serve to consolidate China’s power in India’s neighbourhood. India has particular concerns about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as it involves issues of its sovereignty,” report says, as it suggest ways to better the relationship.
This comes as growing ties between The Kremlin and Beijing, as well as India’s preparation for a quadrilateral security dialogue in the Indo-Pacific with US, Japan and Australia.
About India’s growing partnership with the US, Kudashev said it was the American position — and not India — that bothered Moscow.
“Our concern does not lie on Indian side — it lies mostly with the US, whose agenda doesn’t look positive and constructive for us as of today. Possibly things could change.”
“Our sincere expectation is that three of us could work for some non-confrontational, regional security architecture, economic cooperation free of crisis and free of exclusive approaches like America first,” he said.
He also tried to allay India’s fears about The Kremlin’s growing closeness with Beijing — especially given the latter’s position in the UN Security Council over Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad militant Masood Azhar — by saying Russia shared India’s concerns over terrorism. Russia and China are both veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council.
China has repeatedly blocked a UN resolution for sanctions on Azhar — the latest one coming a week ago.
Putting Azhar on UN’s 1267 sanctions list would mean an asset freeze and travel ban on the militant who has been accused of having been involved in several militant attacks in India, including last year’s attack on an Indian military base in Pathankot.