India woos Russia for UNSC seat

President Patil, Putin keen on wide range of investments

India woos Russia for UNSC seat

 
President Pratibha Patil shakes hands with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Friday. AFPPresident Pratibha Patil during a 45-minute meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at the ‘white house’ here on Friday brought up the subject of ‘lop-sided’ representation in the Security Council and the need to revamp the membership of the highest UN body.

Though such ‘political issues’ are normally left to the political leaders and the visit by a Head of State is more in the nature of exchange of goodwill, Ms Patil’s reference to security Council found positive response from Putin. The Russian leader reportedly agreed that there was a clear case for expansion of the Security Council and India finding a place in it that merits its size and importance, “but we need to find the options that are available.”

India has obviously renewed its effort to find a seat at the UN high table on the eve of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) meeting at New York later this month and a trilateral meeting among the foreign ministers of the three countries minus Brazil scheduled to be held in Bangalore in October.  

Obstacles

Among the permanent members of SC, India already enjoys the support of France, Britain and Russia and it is only the US and China which have laid the obstacles. The meeting between Ms Patil and Putin also concentrated a great deal on taking the economic relations to a new level by encouraging wide-range of investments in each other’s countries.

While India has already finalised an investment of about $5 billion dollars in Russia in the hydrocarbon sector and looking for more opportunities in gas and petroleum projects, Russian companies are active in off shore oil explorations and communications in India.

Sources said both the sides are encouraging government-to-government as well as business-to-business dealings and the recent establishment of a CEOs forum would give a boost to the trade between the two countries. In its quest for energy security, India is already pumping oil from Sakhalin-1 in Russia and tied up with other companies for import of LNG. The Russian companies are participating in the next round of bidding for off-shore oil exploration in India being held in Europe next week.

RUSSIA DIARY

1) That Russia or at least Moscow, has rebounded economically under Vladimir Putin, is evident from the number of swanky foreign-made cars on the capital’s main streets. Unlike the rundown Ladas, Moskovichs and Uazs of the past, there are Toyotas, Benzs, Fords and Skodas which crowd the roads. In fact, according to one estimate, there are three million vehicles in a city of 10-12 million people.

Consequently, traffic jams are endemic even though most roads have six to eight lanes. No one horns and there are no two-wheelers, but just like our scooter-riders, everyone is game for lane-changing without a warning!

The best thing about Moscow roads is there is an emergency lane right in the middle for ambulances and police vehicles to move. If anyone else is found using it without reason, he will be immediately fined. Compare it with our ambulances, which keep honking with hope only in hell for finding the right of way!

2) On Thursday night, the two presidents, Pratibha Patil and Dmitry Medvedev were chief guests at the Gala Concert held at the historic Bolshoi theatre as part of the on-going Festival of India in Russia. The folk dancers from across India were featured in the two-hour-long event titled Sahasra Patra (The Lotus of a Thousand Petals), which drew an appreciative audience.

From Kerala’s Tala Vadya and Kathakali to Aangir Gair from Rajasthan and   Dangi from Gujarat to Kinnari Nati from Himachal Pradesh, there was robust music and dance on display. Karnataka’s Beesu Kamsale artistes did impress, but one wonders why the state sticks to the beaten track of presenting only either Kamsale or Yakshagana when there are many other interesting folk forms. Renowned artiste Bansi Kaul who choreographed the event, was able to bring out the remarkable affinity among folk forms which respect neither language nor boundaries. The grand ensemble in the end, bringing all artistes together proved the point. Noted lyricist Gulzar was the guest of honour.

3) The number of Indian students studying in Russian universities has dwindled over a period of time and now there are only about 5,000 of them, mostly doing medicine or engineering.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the support system available earlier no longer exists and the students also find that compared to India, the Russian universities are lagging behind in lab support.

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