On January 19, 2018, the most recent Russia-India Strategic Dialogue was held in New Delhi. Professor Georgy Toloraya, Executive Director of the National Committee on BRICS Studies, who participated in the meeting of representatives of the two countries’ expert communities, spoke about the event in an interview with valdaiclub.com.
Within the context of Russia’s interaction with strategic partners, the Russia-Indian strategic dialogue has the longest history. This year it was held for the eleventh time. This is a platform for frank, friendly, and sometimes rather sharp discussion on the most pressing issues – including both the agenda of bilateral relations and international problems. These are the problems of world politics, global governance, international organizations, regional development and so on. The most recent meeting had its own specifics. In particular, it was focused on the India-led concept of the Indo-Pacific region, which involves forming an alliance between the “largest democracies” of this vast region, i.e. the US, Japan, Australia and India. It’s no secret that in China this concept is perceived as an anti-Chinese move, an attempt to encircle China. Indians do not think so, and it is natural that we exchanged opinions on this issue. And this was, perhaps, the most important issue in the current dialogue.
Much of the discussion was also dedicated to bilateral relations, which are now generally on the rise, but it is natural that there are a lot of problems in such multi-faceted relations as the privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia. We discussed them quite frankly.
An important aspect of the discussion was the problem of regional cooperation – the so-called connectivity concept. India is interested in Russia’s approaches to the Greater Eurasian partnership, the Chinese Belt and Road initiative and how these initiatives can be linked to the plans to create a North-South corridor and other infrastructure projects of India.
Within the framework of these meetings, not only leading experts, but also officials held conversations and speeches at the level of deputy heads of foreign affairs departments and relevant profile departments. We expect to use this mechanism in the future and to consult political leaders and foreign ministries of the two countries on the most important issues.