Russia frowns upon India's 'quad' move

Nikolay Kudashev

Russia has frowned upon the “quad” initiative, which India re-launched with United States, Australia and Japan in November 2017 to counter China's hegemonic aspirations in Indo-Pacific.

Moscow's envoy to New Delhi, Nikolay Kudashev, argued for expanding the ambit of trilateral cooperation among Russia, India and China.

“We are of a strong belief that decisions to further enlarge and deepen our (Russia, India and China) trilateral cooperation and coordination would contribute to the Eurasian and global stability,” said Kudashev, delivering a speech at an event held by think-tank Ananta Aspen Centre in New Delhi.

“That is, in fact, the main distinction of the RIC (Russia-India-China), which unlike some other separate formats such as the so-called 'Quad', is not aimed at anyone in the region, but rather directed at exploring cooperation opportunities and building confidence among the participants, expanding a common ground among them - of course, based on the traditional international law,” added Russia's ambassador to India.

India, US, Japan and Australia on November 12 last year re-launched the quad initiative for “consultation on Indo-Pacific” - a move, which was aimed at countering China's moves to spread its geo-strategic influence in the region and beyond, particularly through its controversial Belt-and-Road Initiative.

Kudashev said that India was one of Russia's “most important partners in the Asia-Pacific” and Russia would want India to play a “strong independent role” in the region.

He added that Russia would also like to step up its engagement with India in the multilateral forums, like the East Asia Summits, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ADMM Plus – a platform for the ASEAN (10-member Association of South East Asian Nations) and its eight Dialogue Partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States) to strengthen security and defence cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region.

Collective solutions

“We should be able to effectively use this mechanism in order to find collective solutions to the common challenges and threats as well as raise awareness of sensitive interests of all players,” said Kudashev.

“At the same time,” Russia's ambassador to India stressed, “we should avoid creation of any alienation lines not to antagonise anyone, which would be absolutely counterproductive and harmful to regional stability.”

Though Moscow and New Delhi share decades-old relations, Russia has been upset over India's growing ties with the United States. Moscow's bid to step up defence and security ties with Islamabad caused unease in New Delhi.

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