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Интервью с послом Индии


21 апреля 2015 года  Евразийский  юридический журнал, входящий в состав  МОД «Российская служба мира»,  опубликовал интервью с Чрезвычайным и Полномочным Послом Республики Индия  Пунди  Сринивасаном  Рагхаваном.

Кухтин Геннадий Витальевич  -  Первый заместитель Председателя Международного общественного движения «Российская служба мира», ветеран государственной  службы;

Фархутдинов Инсур Забирович  - Главный редактор Евразийского юридического журнала, заместитель  Председателя Международного общественного движения «Российская служба мира»

На русском языке  интервью   с Послом Индии  читайте  на сайте журнала по ссылке:  http://www.eurasialaw.ru/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7244:2015-04-19-08-30-49&catid=481:-3-82-2015&Itemid=799


Interview of Ambassador


Eurasian Law Journal

“India and Russia: new trends in the development of the BRICS and the SCO”


Dear Mr. Pundi Srinivasan Raghavan,


Today, India is conducting a very active and independent foreign policy. This is due to the fact that your country has positioned itself as an independent geopolitical power in the post-bipolar world order, and it has been consistently and systematically expanding diplomatic and trade relations with almost all countries of the world, especially the major ones, which has largely been made possible by the strengthening of its economy.


Our magazine, which cooperates with the Cultural Centre of the BRICS Nations (CC of the BRICS Nations), part of the International Public Movement “Russian Service for Peace”, has begun publishing a series of materials about the BRICS countries. The first of this series was the publication of an interview with the Ambassador of Brazil in Russia Antonio Guerreiro (the text of this interview is attached, and please visit the website http://www.eurasialaw.ru/ №12, 2014). Now the floor is yours, Mr. Ambassador.


Traditionally one of the priority topics of the Eurasian Law Journal is to highlight the role of international law in the international relations of today. Therefore, we propose to begin our conversation namely with the fundamental principles of the relations within the international community.


Question 1:What is India’s position, in its independent foreign policy, with respect to the violations of the principles and norms of international law, which have been committed by the Western countries in recent years?


Answer:India’s foreign policy is firmly anchored in well-founded principles and national interests, flowing from its historical experiences, social ethos and developmental objectives.


Question 2: In today’s global environment, how could the main areas of India’s foreign policy be described in brief?


Answer:I have mentioned the basis of our foreign policy. Economic growth and developmental objectives are important thrust areas of our foreign policy, as well as the security of our borders and autonomy of actions on the global arena. These perspectives guide our engagement with the international community, our striving for a multi-polar world order that takes into account the interests and aspirations of the poles, and our call for reform of the international governance system so that it reflects the realities of the 21st century.


Question 3: Calling the relations between Russia and India “a strategic partnership” has been the norm for a long time. During the Cold War India and the Soviet Union had strong military, economic and diplomatic relations. The new Russia has inherited this close relationship with India, and India has improved its relations with the West. In 1996, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia E.M. Primakov proposed the idea of strengthening Russian-Indian relations. He put forward the idea of a geo-strategic triangle “Moscow-Beijing-Delhi” within the framework of a multi-polar world.


How do you assess the history of Russian-Indian relations over the last 20-25 years?


Answer:Relations between India and Russia have been strong because they have always accorded with the mutual interests of the two countries and enjoy strong support of our peoples. They survived the political and economic transformations of Russia and India in the 1990s. They entered a new more intensive phase in 2000 when we commenced the practice of Annual Summit meetings between our two leaders. Russia was the first country with whom India concluded a formal agreement on strategic partnership. In recognition of the broad canvas of our bilateral engagement, we today term our relationship a special and privileged strategic partnership. 


Question 4: In May 2014, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin congratulated Narendra Modi on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory in the general election in India. In the congratulatory telegram, the Head of the Russian Government highly valued the traditionally friendly relations between Russia and India, which are based on the Declaration on Strategic Partnership, which was signed when the Bharatiya Janata Party was in power and which defined the development of bilateral cooperation for years to come. How do you assess the results of Putin’s visit to Delhi on the 11th of December last year?


Answer: President Putin’s visit to India in December last year was in many ways a landmark event. It was the first Annual Summit between the leaders after the new government came into office in India. They reviewed the current status of the special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia and spelt out a focused agenda for the development of bilateral cooperation in diverse areas. This can be seen in the joint statement that articulates the vision of our two leaders for strengthening our partnership over the next decade. The agreements signed during the visit have substantive content and build on the objectives outlined in our Joint Statement.


Question 5: Russia’s relations with India have been consistently friendly for more than half a century, the current meeting of the top leadership was especially significant – the change of Government in Delhi, which occurred six months ago, has given rise to numerous speculations about the future of Indo-Russian relations. Will the change of Government in India in the summer of 2014 affect the traditional relations between Russia and India?


Answer:I have outlinedthe important elements of our foreign policy; they do not change with a change in government. The Strategic Vision document adopted during President Putin’s visit to India in December 2014 is reflective of our government’s resolve to strengthen partnership with Russia in all areas of our bilateral cooperation.


In his media statement during President Putin’s visit, our Prime Minister described the India-Russia Strategic Partnership as “incomparable in content.” He added, “the steadfast support of the people of Russia for India has been there even at difficult moments in our history. It has been a pillar of strength for India's development, security and international relations. India, too, has always stood with Russia through its own challenges. The character of global politics and international relations is changing. However, the importance of this relationship and its unique place in India's foreign policy will not change. In many ways, its significance to both countries will grow further in the future.” 


The above quote is a categorical answer to your question.



Question 6: How would you comment on the point of view that very serious changes have started to take place in India “since Modi came to power, being a pragmatic nationalist and conservative, far closer in his views to Putin than to the Anglo-Saxon elite”.


Answer: Our new government has strengthened the thrust for economic growth and national development and emphasized that India’s international engagement should keep this in firm focus.



Question 7: Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to India was the logical continuation of Russia’s turn towards the East, during which Moscow has not only been strengthening its ties with old friends, but has also begun to jointly create a new world order. Being partners in the BRICS, Russia and India also cooperate within the framework of the SCO. The Moscow–Beijing–Delhi triangle is becoming a real factor in world geopolitics. What areas of Russian-Indian relations do you, as Ambassador of India in Moscow, believe to be of the highest priority? Are there any disagreements between our two countries?


Answer:As I have mentioned, our relationship covers a wide canvas which covers political dialogue, cooperation in multilateral fora, consultations on global security issues, defence, nuclear energy, hydrocarbons and many others. All of these are priority issues. Our two leaders also agreed at their Summit meeting in December 2014 that economic cooperation is a vital pillar of our strategic partnership requiring further strengthening. We are working on all these sectors and particularly on strengthening trade and investment relations, trying to foster closer links between corporate entities of our two countries and linking regions of our countries with each other.


Question 8: Delhi has condemned the Western sanctions against Moscow – “Russia and India are opposed to economic sanctions that have not been approved by the UN Security Council”. The Declaration also documented Moscow’s promise to support Delhi’s intention to become a permanent member of the Security Council – which, of course, is in line with the policy of dismantling the American style world order and of moving towards a world order that is built on the balance of interests of the world’s major civilisations. What do you think about the issue of Western sanctions against Russia? Do you think that these sanctions are an opportunity for the more active development of cooperation between Russia and India in different spheres?


Answer:  We have stated our views on sanctions. We will continue our close economic cooperation with Russia, seeking to expand bilateral trade and mutual investment. There are objective conditions and complementarities that create opportunities for widening of our economic cooperation. We do not need extraneous impulses for this effort.


Question 9: If we talk about the situation in the Ukraine, what is India’s position regarding the Ukrainian crisis? What led the Indian side to abstain from voting on the UN General Assembly resolution on the territorial integrity of the Ukraine?


Answer:India has consistently said it would like a solution to Ukraine’s internal differences to be found in a manner that meets the aspirations of all sections of Ukraine’s population and the legitimate interests of the countries in its neighbourhood. India does not consider violence as a legitimate means to resolve the situation in Ukraine and feels that only sincere and sustained diplomatic efforts would ensure that all issues are resolved through constructive dialogue.


India’s votes on UN resolutions are based on holistic assessments of issues and the circumstances.



Question 10: The new leadership of India has announced a policy of attracting foreign investment in the economy. How has Russian-Indian trade and investment cooperation developed over the past year? What joint projects could India offer Russian companies?


Answer:As I have mentioned the leadership of our two countries have particularly identified economic cooperation as a major focus area of the relationship. Our trade of about US$ 10 billion annually is well below potential and our investment is restricted to a few areas. We have a large number of projects currently under discussions between both countries involving investment in both directions. They include natural resources (coal, fertilizers, etc.), hydrocarbons, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, transport vehicles,  and other interests of Indian companies in Russia. Russian companies have also shown great interest in the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government of India and we are discussing projects of joint manufacture of helicopters, aircraft and a wide-range of other machinery and equipment. This is besides the investment projects in defence cooperation which are also in advanced stages of discussion. 


Question 11: India has been involved in the activities of the SCO as an observer country since 2005 and is interested in joining this organisation. Will this happen in the near future?


Answer:India has sustained its engagement with SCO and has contributed meaningfully to its activities as an observer in the organization. Its formal application for full membership was made last year and considered at the SCO Summit in Dushanbe. We appreciate Russia’s support for India’s membership to SCO, which was also reaffirmed in the joint statement issued during President Putin’s visit. India is ready to join SCO as a member when the Organization is ready for it. 



Question 12: The issue of energy security is one of the priorities for India. Experts do not rule out the fact that Russia and India may come to an agreement on the construction of a trans-Himalayan gas pipeline. Is such an idea being discussed in the Indian leadership? Are there any plans for other joint projects in the energy sector?


Answer:A Programme of Cooperation in Oil and Gas in 2015-16 was signed during the visit of President Putin to India in December 2014. It envisages projects of joint exploration and production of hydrocarbons, long term LNG supplies and joint study of a hydrocarbon pipeline system connecting Russia with India. Cooperation on these and on other energy projects have also been spelled out in the Strategic Vision Document that we adopted at the Summit.


Question 13: One of the best examples of cooperation in the sphere of the Military Industrial Complex is the joint venture BrahMos Aerospace, which develops missiles. Are Russia and India planning any more such projects? How is the cooperation between Russia and India progressing in the creation of the fifth-generation fighter plane? Earlier, information about problems in this area, for which the Russian side was blamed, appeared in the Indian Media.


Answer:The production of the jointly developed Brahmos missile in India is proceeding satisfactorily. The system has been inducted into the Indian Army and Navy. The air version of Brahmos is expected to undergo trials soon. Both sides are actively discussing the development of further Brahmos versions.   


India and Russia have a unique relationship of joint research, development and production of military defence systems. We have had excellent results in our bilateral cooperation and are fully satisfied with the access to technologies that our defence enterprises get. We proceed with the same level of cooperation in the development of the FGFA.  


Speaking of military-technical cooperation, there is a lot of misinformation put out by vested interests. They do not reflect the views of the government. Development and production of high-technology systems is an elaborate process where issues come up and are discussed and resolved by both sides.


Question 14: One of the consequences of reducing the presence of the West in Afghanistan has been the strengthening of Russian-Indian relations in the sphere of security. While Delhi in recent years has been trying to diversify its relations in the sphere of defence, including through the expansion of ties with the United States, the need to prevent the return to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan has given second wind to cooperating with Moscow in the sphere of security. Russia and India have some common goals as regards Afghanistan. What are the priority tasks here?


Answer:Afghanistan is an important country in our common neighbourhood.  India has been, and will remain, committed to assisting Afghanistan in its reconstruction and development effort. We will continue to work to further strengthen our Strategic Partnership with Afghanistan and its people. Just as Russia does, we too believe that a strong, stable and prosperous Afghanistan is in our vital interest. The political, security and economic gains of the last decade provide Afghanistan a real chance to achieve the goal. India and Russia can cooperate to contribute towards this effort.


Question 15: Do you share the view that, in the context of the tightening of sanctions against Russia by Western countries, cooperation with Asian partners, and with India in particular, may acquire a new quality? For its part, India has also been demonstrating the desire for further all-round development of contacts with Russia on all possible platforms – within the framework of the BRICS, the SCO and the Eurasian Economic Union.


Answer:Our relationship with Russia does not depend on the situation surrounding us. We are all-weather friends. We have stood by each other during difficult times. Mutual trust and support to each other at times of need are bedrocks of our cooperation.


Question 16: The Indian Authorities have decided to start issuing visas to citizens of some countries, including Russia, at local airports. How might this affect the flow of tourists from the Russian Federation to India? Do you have any statistics on the number of Russian tourists who visited Indian resorts in the past year?


Answer:Our new visa scheme enables Russians to apply online and to obtain a travel authorization electronically so that they can get their visas on arrival at an Indian airport. We hope this will significantly boost the numbers of Russian tourists in India. India received about 250000 travellers from Russia last year and we expect that the new visa provisions will encourage increase in numbers inspite of unsettled conditions in the tourism industry.


Question 17: Mr. Ambassador, in your opinion, can the BRICS now be regarded not only as a developing economic union, but also as the geopolitical club of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa?


Answer:BRICS, which started out as a forum focussing on economic issues of mutual concern, has now emerged as a valuable forum for consultation, coordination and cooperation on contemporary global issues of mutual interest and has helped to promote mutual trust and understanding. The agenda of BRICS meetings has considerably widened over the years to encompass global issues such as international terrorism, climate change, food and energy security, international economic and financial situation, sustainable development, trade protectionism and the WTO/Doha Development round. We now have convergent BRICS positions on reform of global governance institutions and support for a democratic, multi-polar world order. BRICS draws strength also from the bilateral relationship between its individual members.  


Question 18: Mr. Ambassador, the BRICS countries, possessing natural and human resources, have a great impact on the global and regional markets. In your opinion, could the BRICS claim to be the guarantor of global security in the future?


Answer: There is a high degree of convergence among BRICS countries on a broad range of security challenges. They emphasize stronger international unity and partnership in combating terrorism, ensuring a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, addressing the rising turmoil in West Asia, a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Arab-Israel conflict, etc. They agree that corrective action for many of the global problems must begin with the reform of institutions of global governance, which must become more representative and reflect ground realities. By working together for these objectives, BRICS can contribute significantly to the strengthening of global security. 



Question 19: Strengthening relations with China and India, building tripartite cooperation at the international level, in this way Moscow will make an important contribution to the approach of the moment when the Himalayas will bring together, rather than divide, two ancient civilisations. Perhaps even three, because Russia’s Eurasian project will return our country to the Himalayas. What prospects do you see in this idea?


Answer:India’s bilateral relations with China are strong and growing; both sides are making efforts to realize the full potential of the wide range of our convergences and complementarities. Separately, our relations with Russia, as I have already stated in detail, have a remarkable strength and vibrancy, building on historical ties and seeking to fully exploit current opportunities. We are in discussion with the Eurasian Economic Union to forge a much closer economic engagement with the Union. India’s membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which brings together Russia, China and the Central Asian Republics would make it a truly trans-Himalayan organization.


Question 20: In the summer of this year, Russia will receive the leaders of the BRICS and the SCO in the city of Ufa. What hopes does India have for BRICS-2015? In your opinion, how realistic is the experts’ forecast, who assert that the economic potential of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa could make it possible for them to take a dominant position by 2050? What should be done to achieve this? What is the role of the civilisation factor in the development of the BRICS project? When compared with the existing Anglo-Saxon paradigm that has to be inculcated and maintained by force, do the diversity and the interaction of cultures, in your opinion, possess significant potential advantages for the BRICS project?


Answer:We are confident that BRICS Summit 2015 will take forward the achievements of the BRICS Summit 2014 and will identify newer areas of convergence and cooperation. As I have mentioned, BRICS has over the years developed into an important instrument for promoting global economic growth and stability, economic development in resource-constrained countries and international peace. With the new Development Bank, BRICS will establish a new paradigm for supporting inclusive growth, sustainable development and economic stability, which will be rooted in the experience and challenges of developing countries. The Contingent Reserve Arrangement will provide an additional cushion against volatility in international financial markets.


BRICS brings together five major emerging economies, comprising approximately 40% of the world’s human resources and about 25% of the world’s GDP. Therefore it is not unrealistic to expect BRICS to be a global economic powerhouse in the near future. Also, though there is a spread in the economic strengths of individual BRICS countries, there is considerable potential for strengthening intra-BRICS cooperation in areas like online education, affordable healthcare platforms, virtual BRICS University, small and medium enterprises, tourism, youth exchanges and science & technology. This is the civilizational  factor in the BRICS relationships. We hope to see forward movement in these areas in BRICS 2015.


Question 21: What do you think about the addition of the BRICS multilateral cooperation in various spheres of culture to the existing bilateral cultural ties? In particular, through the creation of national and international Cultural Centres of the BRICS Nations, and the forming of a circuit of cooperation between the national creative associations of the BRICS countries.


Why has the BRICS not yet signed the Agreement on cooperation in the sphere of culture, proposed by the Russian side, which would make it possible to include the general public of our countries in the process of the formation of this?


Answer:The Fortaleza Summit of BRICS leaders in 2014 decided to encourage BRICS cooperation in the field of culture and expedite negotiations on the draft Agreement on Cultural Cooperation.I expect that we will see concrete initiatives at the forthcoming BRICS Summit to strengthen cultural cooperation in the BRICS format. India and Russia of course share deep cultural affinities and our culture exchanges date back even centuries. There are strong bilateral cultural links between other individual BRICS countries. A mechanism for promoting cultural cooperation in the BRICS format can therefore be built on the sound platform of the vibrant cultural links between individual BRICS countries.   


Question 22: What would you wish Russia as the country chairing the BRICS in 2015?


Answer:Of course, I extend warmest wishes to Russia as it prepares to chair the BRICS Summit in 2015 and to take forward the multi-faceted BRICS agenda through a number of initiatives and activities during its Chairmanship of BRICS. As a global power and member of a number of multilateral groupings, Russia is experienced in hosting international events of this nature and following up on them. BRICS countries are already discussing a number of initiatives and activities which Russia has planned for its Chairmanship of BRICS.


Question 23:What would you like to wish the readers, authors and employees of the Eurasian Law Journal?


Answer: I extend my greetings to all those associated with the Eurasian Law Journal. Your role in popularizing and clarifying international law is a valuable one in a turbulent world and I wish you all success in it.