NEW DELHI: Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar would be in Russia over the weekend, one in the slew of visits that has been undertaken by Indian officials to mend ties with arch-friend Moscow.
The awakening is dawning on the mandarins in South Block that the exclusivity of the Indo-Russian relation might have been lost as New Delhi’s proclivity towards Washington has made Moscow snuggle up to Islamabad. As India aligned itself completely with the US overcoming its hesitance of non-alignment, Russia spared no time in holding out its hand of friendship to Pakistan as evident through the maiden military war games it conducted with New Delhi’s nemesis aptly named Exercise-Dosti.
“The Foreign Secretary would be in Russia over the weekend for high-level consultations,” sources in the Ministry of External Affairs told the Express. The visit will commiserate a visit from a high-level Russian military delegation visiting followed by the Russian Navy Chief. The MEA has been trying to downplay the bump on the road to friendship with Russia.
Last month National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval was also in Moscow. The visit had come after a miffed India intervened as Russia, along with China and Pakistan, decided to hold a trilateral dialogue on Afghanistan. India immediately made its objection known on the development and Doval rushed to the Moscow. He met Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, said to be close to President Vladimir Putin. The trilateral negotiation was expanded to accommodate India and Afghanistan, but not making an impression in New Delhi about its waning relation with Moscow.
The importance of the steady relation with Russia is not lost in the South Block as a changed government in the US has put the Indo-US bilateral ties on unsure footing. Moscow has so far kept Islamabad at arm’s length to respect New Delhi’s sensitivities. However, that has come to a pass. When President Putin was in Goa for BRICS Summit in 2016, his stand refused to call out Pakistan for cross-bordering terrorism, an issue that India has repeatedly been raising.