Outcomes versus promises

Outcomes versus promises

News:

  1. The article written by MK Narayanan discusses about India’s emerging relations with USA and to strike a right balance with Russia in this regard.

Important Facts:

  1. Indo-Russia annual summit: Russian President Vladimir Putin visited India recently in an annual summit which demonstrated clear ‘mutuality of interests’ by following outcomes:
  • The inking of the $5.4 billion S-400 Triumf missile defence system.
  • Decision to expand civil nuclear energy cooperation and a second site for Russian nuclear reactors.
  • Memorandum of understanding was signed on a joint programme in the field of human space-flight, enabling Indian astronauts to be trained in Russia.
  • Agreement on a regional security architecture to provide security to all countries in Asia and in the regions of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
  1. Earlier major outcomes with Russia:
  • In 2009 India-Russia summit led to long pending sale to India of the Russian aircraft carrier, Gorshkov (since renamed Vikramaditya).
  1. Comparison with US 2+2 dialogue:
  • 2+2 dialogue is a new concept which has been hailed as a path-breaking event to acquire state-of-the art defence equipment from the U.S.
  • However acquisition of Russia’s S-400 Triumf, possibly the best missile defence system in the world, has again placed Russia on India’s top priority in acquiring weapons.
  • There is also no Russian equivalent of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) in place.
  1. Significance of 2+2 dialogue:
  • S. employs 2+2 Dialogue with some of its closest allies including Japan and Australia which has given the impression that India has come within the U.S. orbit of influence, detaching itself further from Russia.
  • It is seen as US attempt to woo India mainly with the aim of containment of China.
  • The U.S. wants India to view foreign policy perspectives largely through a U.S. prism, and thereafter make a choice in dealing with other partners like Russia.
  1. Other attempts by US to woo India:
  • The U.S. had renamed the Asia-Pacific as the Indo-Pacific.
  • It had blocked more than $1.5 billion in U.S. security aid to Pakistan, allotting a mere $150 million in 2019.
  • S.-India economic cooperation was stated to have grown exponentially within two decades, with the total goods and services trade between India and U.S. increasing from $11.2 billion in 1995 to $126.2 billion in 2017.
  • S. foreign direct investment into India substantially increased during this period.
  • The most important bait was India being accorded the status of a ‘major defence partner’.
  • This impression is further heightened by India signing on to the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) recently.

  1. US concerns about China:
  • China had the second largest defence budget in the world, the largest standing army, the third largest air force, and is rapidly expanding its navy.
  • Specific mention was also made by the U.S. to the Chinese navy’s ‘anti-access’ capabilities and its ‘area denial tactics’, intended to warn countries in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) like India of the growing menace posed by the Chinese navy.
  1. Way Forward:
  • India still has a close relationship with Russia, one of its and most dependable allies.
  • India can hardly alienate Russia as it re-emerges as a key presence in Asia and Eurasia.
  • India should not allow itself to be easily persuaded in the belief that democracies, by and large, offer better choices.
  • Its decision needs to be dictated by the cold logic of circumstances.
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