PM Modi and President Putin met on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg on July 26. President Putin is due to visit India for their annual Summit in October. Russia and India held a Joint Working Group meeting at Deputy Foreign Minister level on countering global terrorism. The official release of the meeting contained the usual formulations on cooperation in preventing terrorism, tackling its ideological mainsprings, choking off its financing, combatting the phenomenon of foreign terrorist militants and coordinating action in international organizations like SCO and FATF.

In keeping with growing Russian interaction with Pakistan, particularly with its Armed Forces and intelligence agencies, Russia’s MFA issued two statements, expressing concern at terrorist activity in the runup to the elections in Pakistan (citing attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan) and support for the authorities’ measures to boost security, including Armed Forces personnel presence in campaign events and at polling stations.

The Russian external intelligence chief, Sergei Naryshkin, was in fact in Pakistan during this period, joining his counterparts from Iran, China and Pakistan in Islamabad (July 10), professedly to strategize on coordinated action to counter the dangers from the build-up of the Islamic State on Afghan territory. It is a constant refrain of Russia (supported by Iran) that the US and UK facilitate the migration of IS terrorists from Iraq and Syria to Afghanistan to pose security threats to its neighbours (Iran, Central Asia and thence to Russia). The US has naturally denied this. The Indian view has been that the IS threat in Afghanistan has been exaggerated by Pakistan for its own reasons. Some recent studies of social media chatter among militants in the region do, however, suggest that such migrations have occurred, but reliable estimates of numbers are not yet available.


July 30, 2018

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About the Author

Ambassador PS Raghavan

Former Ambassador of India to Russia; Convener, National Security Advisory Board

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.

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