The Russian President Vladimir Putin says there will always be issues between neighboring countries in reference to the ongoing Ladakh border standoff between India and China. Russia is walking a tightrope as China refuses to vacate the Indian territory it captured under the very nose of the Narendra Modi government. In case of escalation, Russia might have to choose between friends (India and China) and the United States is wooing India in the name of Quad.
“Yes, I do know that there are some issues related to India-China relations, but there are always a lot of issues between neighbouring countries. I know the attitude of both the prime minister of India and also the president of China”, the Russian president said, responding to the poser by the news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) during a virtual press conference. Putin was attending St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Friday.
“They (PM Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping) are very responsible people and they earnestly treat one another with utmost respect, and I believe that they will always arrive at a solution to any issue that they might face”, he said.
Unlike PM Narendra Modi, the Russian leadership has been firm in dealing with countries, including China, when it comes to border conflicts. China refrains from displaying its hegemonistic tendencies with Russia.
In reference to the US support to India during the standoff against China, Putin said “but it is important that no other extra-regional power is interfering with that.”
On the issue of the Quad grouping, Putin said “no partnership should be aimed at making friends against anyone”. The Quad is an informal alliance comprising Australia, India, Japan, and the US.
Putin has kept mum on the Quad grouping, but let Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov do all the talking on the subject.
“India is currently an object of the Western countries’ persistent, aggressive and devious policy as they are trying to engage it in anti-China games by promoting Indo-Pacific strategies, the so-called Quad, while at the same time the West is attempting to undermine our close partnership and privileged relations with India”, Lavrov said at the Valdai International Discussion Club, an event organised by Moscow-based think tank the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC).
He repeated his displeasure later during his visit to India in April this year. An “Asian NATO-like alliance could be counter-productive,” said Lavrov.
The standoff at the Ladakh border has been the deadliest between the two Asian nations since the 1962 border war. The two sides have held 10 rounds of military commander-level talks without much success to end the year-long dispute.