India has said that its relations with Russia “stand on their own merits.” This was asserted by India after Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov remarked that the west was attempting to “undermine our close partnership and privileged relations” with New Delhi.
Ministry of external affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, “India has always pursued an independent foreign policy based on its national interest. India’s relationship with each country is independent of its relations with third countries.”
“We hope that this is well understood and appreciated by all our partners,” the spokesperson added.
New Delhi and Moscow have a ‘special and privileged strategic partnership’, and this year marks the 20th anniversary of the strategic partnership between both the countries.
During his remarks at the general meeting of the Russian International Affairs Council, FM Lavrov also mentioned the Indo-Pacific and the quad, while terming them anti-China.
The quad or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is an informal grouping of four major democracies — United States, India, Japan, and Australia. This strategic alliance meets at regular settings, particularly to address the issues pertaining to the Indo-Pacific region.
The quad nations held an informal dialogue in October this year and participated in the annual Malabar exercise in November.
Recalling the Indian prime minister’s speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in the month of June in 2018, the MEA spokesperson pointed out, “India does not see the Indo-Pacific region as a strategy or as a club of limited members or as a grouping that seeks to dominate. It is not directed against any country. It stands for a free, open, and inclusive region.”
This is not the first time the Russian foreign minister has commented on the Indo-Pacific concept. Earlier this year, he called the concept “divisive” and “India smart to not to get into it,” while speaking at the Raisina Dialogue in Delhi.