Russian doctrine gives top priority to ties with India

Vladimir Radyuhin

Describes relations with India, China as strategic

Calls for closer trilateral ties with India and China

Opposition to the NATO eastward expansion

MOSCOW: Russia’s new foreign policy doctrine assigns higher priority to relations with India and projects Moscow’s more assertive posture in the world.

The foreign policy concept paper, approved by President Dmitry Medvedev two months after taking office, defines relations with India and China as Russia’s “most important vector” in Asia. The 2000 doctrine referred to India and China as “one of the most important” Asian priorities for the Kremlin.

For the first time the Russian foreign doctrine describes relations with India and China as “strategic” for Russia. The passage on India gives greater emphasis to political and economic cooperation between Moscow and Delhi compared with the previous doctrine.

“In deepening the strategic partnership with India, Russia pursues the principled policy towards stronger interaction on burning international problems and all-round strengthening of mutually beneficial relations in all spheres, especially in achieving a substantial uplift in commercial and economic ties,” said the foreign policy concept, displayed on the Russian President’s website on Tuesday.

It calls for closer trilateral cooperation with India and China.

“Russia shares the interest of China and India in advancing effective political and economic interaction in the Russia-India-China triangular format.”

The 2000 foreign policy doctrine made no mention of the triangle. In another novelty the paper assigns special importance to “the further strengthening of the SCO” (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation).

Deviation from previous paper

In deviation from the previous paper the new text omits a call on India and Pakistan to sign the nuclear test ban treaty and the non-proliferation pact.

The new paper registers stronger opposition to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) eastward expansion, saying this would foster the emergence of “new dividing lines in Europe.”

“Russia maintains its negative stance towards the NATO expansion, in particular towards the plans to grant Ukraine and Georgia the NATO membership, as well as towards bringing the NATO military infrastructure closer to Russian borders in general,” the paper said.

Underlining Russia’s new strength the doctrine drops previous promise to seek a “mutually acceptable resolution” to its long-standing territorial dispute with Japan. Instead, Russia says that “problems inherited from the past” should not hamper bilateral cooperation, even as it consents to work towards a “commonly acceptable solution.”

Detailing his new foreign policy guidelines, Mr. Medvedev sternly warned that United States plans to deploy a missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland would destroy the security system in Europe.

“This common (security) heritage cannot survive if one of the sides selectively destroys isolated elements of the strategic construction. We cannot accept this… We will be compelled to react to this adequately,” Mr. Medvedev said at a meeting with Russia’s leading diplomats on Tuesday.

“It is extremely important to rebuff attempts to secure interests of one country or a group of countries by sidestepping international law,” the Russian leader stressed.

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