Caught between its military and energy partnership with Russia and mounting, not-so-subtle threats from various US sources that it may attract the US CAATSA sanctions, India appeared to be following multiple tracks: assuring Russia of commitment to the partnership, seeking CAATSA waiver from the US, and trying to chart a middle path on the Russia-West arguments. 
 
Prime Minister Modi telephoned President Putin on April 11. The Kremlin reported “a constructive and friendly discussion” on “current issues related to developing the privileged strategic partnership”. Visits by the Defence Minister and the National Security Advisor to Moscow reinforced this message. 
 
A train of Indian high-level delegations also went to Washington – Defence Minister, National Security Advisor, Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary – to gauge the Trump Administration’s future course in respect of CAATSA, tariffs and IPR issues. 
 
India’s effort to balance both sides in the arguments over the Skripal incident was seen at the OPCW Executive Council meeting in the Hague on April 4, considering rival UK and Russian proposals on investigation of the incident. India abstained on the Russian proposal for joint UK-Russian investigation. However, the India UK joint statement on April 18 (during PM Modi’s visit to the UK) refers to “the appalling nerve agent attack in Salisbury” and “continued reports of the use of chemical weapons” in Syria, without touching on the legality of the West’s missile strikes. About a week later, in the press release on the meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization Foreign Ministers, India subscribed to a formulation expressing “grave concerns” about the missile strikes on Syrian territory by “three permanent members of the UN Security Council” and echoing President Putin’s line that they worsened the suffering of the Syrian people. 
 
Developments in US-Russia relations will continue to pose difficult challenges for Indian diplomacy. 
 
 
 

April 30, 2018

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of Ananta Centre to add comments!

Join Ananta Centre

About the Author

Born in 1955, Ambassador Raghavan holds a B.Sc. (Honours) degree in Physics and a B.E. in Electronics & Communications Engineering. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1979. From 1979 to 2000, he had diplomatic assignments in USSR, Poland, United Kingdom, Vietnam and South Africa, interspersed with assignments in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi. From 2000 to 2004, he was Joint Secretary in the Indian Prime Minister's Office dealing with Foreign Affairs, Nuclear Energy, Space, Defence and National Security. Thereafter, he was Ambassador of India to Czech Republic (2004 - 2007) and to Ireland (2007 - 2011).

He was Chief Coordinator of the BRICS Summit in New Delhi (March 2012) and Special Envoy of the Government of India to Sudan and South Sudan (2012-13). Ambassador Raghavan conceptualized and piloted the creation of the Development Partnership Administration (DPA) in MEA, which implements and monitors India’s economic partnership programs in developing countries, with an annual budget of $1-1.5 billion. He headed DPA in 2012-13. From March 2013 to January 2014, he oversaw the functioning of the Administration, Security, Information Technology and other related Divisions of MEA. Since October 2013, he was also Secretary [Economic Relations] in MEA, steering India’s bilateral and multilateral external economic engagement. Ambassador Raghavan retired from the Indian Foreign Service in January 2016, after serving from 2014 as Ambassador of India to Russia. Since September 2016, he is Convenor of the National Security Advisory Board of the Government of India.

You need to be a member of Ananta Centre to add comments!

Join Ananta Centre

Featured Video