Shashtipoorti in Indo-Russian ties, but relationship still “hot”

November 14th, 2007 - 10:29 am ICT by admin  

Moscow, Nov.11 (ANI): The Indian Prime Minister, Dr.Manmohan Singh arrived in Moscow today for his 36 hour visit to India’s closest and long time ally in the region.

As the two nations celebrate the auspicious “Shashtipoorti” or completion of 60 years of the legendary friendship, the relationship is still said to be “hot”, if one is to go by what National Security Advisor M.K.Narayanan said onboard Air India One while it was en route to Moscow. s a newly-independent nation, India under its first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru pursued a non-aligned policy and sought to maintain relations with both America and the Soviet Union. The latter consistently supported India position on Kashmir and used its veto at the UN in India’s favour.

India on its part supported the Soviet campaign in Afghanistan in the 1970s and early part of the 1980s, much to the anger of the US.

Former Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev on a trip to India in 1955 said: “We are so near that if ever you call us from the mountain tops, we will appear at your side.”

But the only difference is that today from India’s mountain tops gleam neon signs of Pepsi and Macdonalds, blaring from loudspeakers is “Born in the USA”.

Students clamour to study in US campuses, drive European cars, wear Chinese made clothes and speak Americanese. Lekin dil hai Russi. At least so says Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon.

“This talk of chill in Indo-Russia ties is very very far fetched. It doesn’t reflect reality.”

Menon sought to dispel the opinion that Indo-Russia ties have been sacrificed at the alter of India’s new deity Uncle Sam. He said that even if one is to hunt for any parallel in the world it would be impossible to find two countries as close as India and Russia.

“It is a relationship that has proven its quality and is time tested.” When asked why the visit was so short, merely 36 hours.

Menon urged the media not to measure the visit on a “kabadivaala’s balance” i.e. not to weigh the time, but the quality.

The NSA, Narayanan, added that in terms of the actual time spent in negotiations, more is being done in this visit than in the previous ones.

Getting a bit more graphic, Narayanan said:”The ghost of the big chill needs to be put to rest”.

He said that the nature of his “activities” with the Russians was “extremely sensitive, and it cannot possibly function in an atmosphere of chill.”

Tongue in cheek, the NSA said the relationship could be categorised as “almost hot”.

In a unipolar world, where the US views the potential India-Russia-China trilateral strategic axis with undisguised suspicion ,this gung-ho India-Russia bhai-bhai will not go down the US gullet easily.

Many obstacles remain for the three to improve relations, and the US is certainly not expected to stand and watch

Narayanan and Menon are accompanying Prime Minister Singh on his visit to Russia.

Recent media reports have suggested the existence of a new chill in the bilateral relations,particularly after the reported ‘frisking incident’of India’s External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee at the Moscow airport made headlines in New Delhi.

It was reported that the strain in ties was caused by many factors such as India not increasing the escalation rate in the ongoing defence purchases with Russia,and New Delhi’s reported reluctance to give its commitment to Moscow’s opposition to a US plan to set up a missile shied in Eastern Europe.

It was also reported that Moscow was keen to see New Delhi concluding its civilian nuclear cooperation deal with the US, as it would have enabled Russia to participate in the nuclear fuel trade with India in a big way.

It is believed that the successful conclusion of the Indo-US nuclear deal will pave the way for India to take part in the global nuclear trade, where Russia has a strong presence. (ANI)

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