1. Why India is unhappy with Russia?
  2. Why Russia is unhappy with India?
  3. Why Pakistan is eager to be friend of Russia?
  4. Why Pakistan is important for Russia?
  5. Why Pakistan is important for World Powers?
  6. Why India’s fear about Russia Pakistan relations is misplaced?
  7. What should India do?

Why India is unhappy with Russia?

  • Recently India-Russia defence minister-level talks were scheduled @Delhi.
  • But the meeting was postponed after Russian Defence Minister didnot come.
  • At the same time, Pakistani Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited Moscow, thus causing Indian Government to conclude that Russian Defence Minister had stayed back to meet Gen.Kiyani and discuss weapon-deals with him.
  • Apart from this, another bitter issue in Indo-Russian relationship = the Gorshkov aircraft carrier. Because Russia has failed to deliver it on time and demanding more money for repairing and upgrading it.

Why Russia is unhappy with India?

  • Earlier, Russia used to be the sole military hardware supplier for Indian Government. But nowadays, Russia faces competition in India’s arms bazaar from the US, Europe and Israel.
  • Recently India was going to buy ammunition for Russian made ZU-23mm Anti-aircraft guns from a Bulgarian Company. But Russia had sent a message to India that Bulgaria doesn’t have the permission from Russia, to export such ammunition to third country.
  • Hence this move (of Russian Defense minister skipping the meeting in India), is seen as a message from Russia to India that “As a customer, if you’ve the right to choose, then we can also explore our options as a seller” (i.e. we can sell arms to Pakistan!)

Russia Pakistan Relations

Why Pakistan is eager to be friend of Russia?

  • Pakistan wants Russian cooperation to upgrade its military hardware, including Mi-17 helicopters and T-80UD tanks.
  • Pakistan also wants to exchange military-to-military exchanges with Russia

Why Pakistan is important for Russia?

  • For decades now, Russia’s South Asia policy had focused on cultivating a special relationship with India and keeping Pakistan at arms length.
  • But nowadays, Russia’s main concern is narcotics smuggling through Afghanistan, growing religious extremism and China’s growing influence among Central Asian Nations, including Afghanistan. [Recall that Central Asia has huge reserves of minerals, therefore India is also interested in Central Asia- through Connect Central Asia Policy (Click ME).]
  • Many in Russian Government believe that Pakistani Army provides the best lever to effectively influence Afghanistan’s Government.
  • Russia wants Pakistan to award the work of building its section of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline to Russian energy company Gazprom. [Although Gazprom had wanted Pakistani Government  to award this contract without bidding, but Pakistan is reluctant to do so. Therefore there is some bitterness in relationship.]
  • US plans to end its combat role in in Afghanistan after 2014. And As America retreats from Afghanistan, China seeks to expand its influence in Kabul, and hence Russia wants to protect its interests. Therefore Russia needs Pakistani army’s cooperation.

Why Pakistan is important for World Powers?

  • Pakistan has always had great strategic value for major powers (US, China, Russia) because of  its geopolitical location at the crossroads of Central Asia and the Gulf,
  • This is especially true when it comes to Afghanistan.
  • Pakistan remains the principal external determinant of Afghanistan’s future, because of its long and open border with Afghanistan- whether it is economic interests (Chinese/Russia) or military invasion (US’s war on terrorism).
  • Therefore, any major power with interests in Afghanistan must necessarily engage Pakistan.

Why India’s fear about Russia Pakistan Relations is misplaced?

  • Some Indian Foreign policy experts believe that Russia has found a new ally Pakistan.
  • But this does not necessarily mean Russia would want to give up its special relationship with India.
  • Russia’s softness towards Pakistan has just begun and it is unlikely to acquire any alarming dimension in the near future.
  • And regarding the fears of Russia selling weapons to Pakistan…well, Russia is not unaware that India’s arms market is much bigger and Pakistan does not have the financial resources  (lolz) to become an attractive customer like India.

What should India do?

  • Russia is still a dependable ally and the range of its assistance — from sharing knowledge for the indigenous Arihant nuclear missile submarine project, the leasing of the Chakra nuclear attack submarine and first rights on the new fifth generation fighter aircraft — cannot be ignored.
  • When circumstances change and interests are redefined, great powers have no hesitation in recasting their foreign policies. There is no room here for sentimentalism.
  • So, Rather than protesting Russia’s or any other great nations’ engagement with Pakistan, We must focus on strengthening our own ability to influence the developments in Afghanistan.