The investigation into Russian “meddling” in the US elections receded somewhat from media headlines. US Secretary of State Tillerson and Russian FM Lavrov had a lengthy bilateral meeting in Manila (August 6). The read-outs of the meeting from the two sides were broadly consistent: discussions on Syria, North Korea and Ukraine. There were convergences on tactics in Syria (covered in a subsequent section). FM Lavrov complained that the US military posture escalated tensions in the Korean peninsula. Secretary Tillerson explained to the media (as he has done before) that, while the election meddling issue remains an irritant, there are many important issues of national security requiring US-Russian dialogue. 
 
In response to the Russian ultimatum (see Review, July) to reduce the number of personnel in US diplomatic and consular offices in Russia to the same level as that of Russian offices in the US by September 1, the US government announced that the issue of visas to Russians would be consequently delayed, and citizens of Belarus could no longer apply for US visas from US offices in Russia. Russia responded with a vague threat of future appropriate counter-measures.
 
Notwithstanding new US sanctions against some Russians for dealings with North Korea, discordant messages on Ukraine and mutual recriminations on Afghanistan, media decibel levels were relatively muted on both sides.

 

 

August 30, 2017

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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.

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