New Delhi: In what is seen as a significant statement, the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to India on December 6 for the annual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be standalone bilateral trip since the pandemic except for visit to Geneva this year for summit with his US counterpart Joe Biden.
The visit assumes importance as Russia has been in the forefront on Afghanistan since Taliban came to power following withdrawal of U.S. troops and India’s relations with the current government in Kabul too is virtually non-existent.
A Sino-Russian military alliance may not be in the offing in the backdrop of Moscow’s strategic partnership with India and Vietnam – both of which have boundary disputes with China. This factor will continue to shape Moscow’s views as evident from the decision by Russia to continue supplying arms to India and fulfilling obligations at the height of the Galwan crisis and supply of first squadron of S-400 is a testimony to decades old defence partnership. New Delhi and Moscow have been steadfast in their support for each other’s territorial sovereignty.
India’s partnership with the Soviet Union and subsequently with Russia have been a factor of stability in geo-politics for the past seven decades. And when the world is yet again facing multiple challenges with the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, threat from radical groups and terrorists and rising tensions between Beijing and Washington, the strategic partnership between New Delhi and Moscow can be a source of stability.
The two sides are now closely coordinating to counter common threats in the Afghan theatre as evident from Russian NSAs two visits to India since September.