Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday arrived in Russia for a two-day official visit and is expected to hold summit talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, alongside attending the Eastern Economic Forum.
Narendra Modi’s visit to Russian Far East Region is the first by an Indian premier, and it is widely being celebrated across Indian media as a bid to gain diplomatic legitimacy for New Delhi’s move of abolishing Kashmir’s special constitutional privileges.
Landed in Vladivostok, capital of the Russian Far East and the crossroads of a dynamic region. Looking forward to joining various programmes in this short but important visit. pic.twitter.com/cLa0hh5iby
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 3, 2019
Upon landing in the Russian Far East capital, Modi tweeted, “Landed in Vladivostok, capital of the Russian Far East and the crossroads of a dynamic region. Looking forward to joining various programmes in this short but important visit.”
Foreign Visits after 5th August
Analysts and opinion-makers scrutinizing Modi’s foreign visits after the unconstitutional and illegal August 5 move observe that New Delhi is engaging with the international community and making their international presence known across the world after cracking down on Kashmir.
After scrapping away the constitutional privileges of the disputed Himalayan territory, Narendra Modi has been received by the heads of state of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, France, and he also attended the G7 meeting alongside global leaders, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
India is a hurdle to remove US influence in the region. India is opposed to the Chinese-led alliance so it stands against “stronger Russia.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan has exhibited a brave and unflinching stance on Kashmir, proclaiming himself as the Ambassador of Kashmir, and pledging to highlight the escalating humanitarian crisis in the occupied valley. However, criticism has been made from politicians and others that during this crisis the Prime Minister has not undertaken any foreign visits, nor has he sent a diplomatic delegation to build a case for Kashmir in the international community.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has been engaged in telephonic conversations with his counterparts from various countries, including Iceland, France, Iran, South Korea, Bangladesh, New Zealand and other states. He has also penned two letters to the UN Human Rights Commission however, analysts believe that his diplomatic engagements have been futile and inadequate.
#NewsAlert – This invite by President Vladimir Putin has given me the honour to be the first Indian PM to visit Vladivostok: PM @narendramodi.#ModiInRussia pic.twitter.com/O7Y2mzJ6P6
— News18 (@CNNnews18) September 4, 2019
Instead of spending his time addressing the people of Pakistan, who have been aligned with the Kashmiri struggle for freedom for decades, the Foreign Minister needed to have visited other states and address the escalating humanitarian crisis in the international community.
Geo-Politics on Kashmir
Underscoring the agenda of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia, Jan Achakzai, geo-political analyst and Chairman of the Center for Geo-politics and Balochistan, observed that it will not succeed in changing the Russian strategic calculus.
Achakzai observed, “PM Modi’s Moscow Yatra will not change Russian strategic calculus: India is a strategic partner of the US, undermining Russian-Chinese quest for multi-polarity away from US-Centric order. India is a hurdle to remove US influence in the region. India is opposed to the Chinese-led alliance so it stands against “stronger Russia.”
1/2) PM Modi’s Moscow Yatra ll not change Russain strategic calculus: 🇮🇳 strategic partner of US undermining Russian-Chinese quest 4 multipolarity away from US-Centric Order; 🇮🇳 hurdle 2 remove US influence in region; 🇮🇳 opposed 2 Chinese led-alliance so against “stronger Russia”
— Jan Achakzai / جان اچکزئی (@Jan_Achakzai) September 4, 2019
He added, “Keeping Indian-occupied Kashmir boiling, India is a hurdle four potential combined axis of Russia, Iran, China, Pakistan and India.”
Jan Achakzai argues that “Moscow cannot sacrifice its potential interests in BRI/CPEC, Iran Deal, Afghan exit, and Chinese strategic convergence at alter of transactions of hardware market of India.”
2/2) Keeping IOK boiling 🇮🇳 is hurdle 4 potential combined axis of Russian, Iran, China, 🇵🇰 & India combined; Moscow can not sacrifice its potential interests in BRI/CPEC, Iran Deal, Afghan exit, Chinese strategic convergence at alter of transactions of hardware market of 🇮🇳.
— Jan Achakzai / جان اچکزئی (@Jan_Achakzai) September 4, 2019
Speaking to the Global Village Space, Geo-Strategist Jan Achakzai elaborated on the geo-political game plan and the strategic partnership between Russia and India.
Achakzai observed, “India’s pivot to the US has undermined its trust with Russia given their strategic partnership spanning over decades: as the world gravitates away from US-led standardization to multipolar-Asian led order, Moscow feels as an important architect of the competing geo-political alignment. Its concept of “stronger Russia” stems from its grandiose sense of rising Euro-Asian power.”
The Baloch analyst continued, “And along with China, Russia wants limiting the influence of the US in Asia. But the strategic hurdle is India: Delhi no longer supports its vision of separate multipolar world order; it is working on parallel geo-political alignment in India-Pacific region with the US to check Chinese growing influence and Russian creeping influence in Indian Ocean region through Pakistani geographical access by integrating with BRI-CPEC.”
Read more: Imran Khan’s Kashmir Policy? Is there One?
Achakzai underscored Indian geopolitical agendas and its unwillingness to seek a peaceful resolution to the longstanding Kashmir dispute. The Baloch analyst said, “Delhi is no longer willing to resolve Kashmir issue with Pakistan-major hurdle in Moscow’s grand vision in SCO-integrating Iran, Pakistan, India, and China as a countervailing alliance to the US. Moscow’s strategic community does not buy Indian latest narrative of convergence-based-alliance vs. values-based-convergence.
He added, “Its translation for Moscow is “treat us as hardware market only confining to transaction-based engagements”, and Russia has clearly realized India no longer treats Moscow as a “brother” but as an “estranged friend”.
Role of Moscow in Kashmir Dispute
Jan Achakzai explained the role of Moscow in supporting Pakistan’s stance on Indian-occupied Kashmir on international forums. He said, “The last support of Russia for Pakistan in UNSG and gravitating to Islamabad’s narrative (i.e. linking UN resolutions with bilateral agreements as a way forward to solve IOK.”
Achakzai continued, “The role of Moscow in de-escalation in post Balakot attack and latest overtures behind the scene to Islamabad to play a role in calming things between India and Pakistan is the result of, partly, Russia’s newfound strategic opportunity to access Indian Ocean through Gwadar and, partly, to preempt India’s quest to undermine Moscow’s immediate interests in the region: Iran-US potential conflict; US existing Afghanistan; stability of Pakistan for its CPEC/BRI benefit.”
India and Russia are against “outside influence” in the internal matters of any nation, Prime Minister #NarendraModi said after talks with Russian President #VladimirPutin.https://t.co/UEn1ne6M8i#ModiInRussia
— The Hindu (@the_hindu) September 4, 2019
The Baloch analyst argued that the Modi administration’s diplomatic outreach is a bid to lobby Middle Eastern countries and the G7 countries against Pakistan. He explained, “However, India’s diplomatic surge after August 5, is helping Indian narrative on IOK and Pakistan policy in a subtle way: since diplomatic positions evolve for short term imperatives as well, It is pertinent to note Delhi has extended its diplomatic outreach— PM Modi has visited Middle Eastern countries in 24 hours (i.e. UAE, KSA, Bahrain) to lobby against Pakistan. Modi in France on the sideline met G7 countries including President Trump to scuttle mediation offer.”
FM Qureshi’s Unsatisfactory Performance
Achakzai noted that Indian Foreign Minister JA Shankar was immediately dispatched to China, Moscow and other capitals to explain August 5 annexation and lobby for Indian narrative.
Commenting on Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s performance, Jan Achakzai observed, “Whereas, Pakistan is leveraging its relations with China. PM Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi have been active but the Foreign Minister is mostly operating out of his office calling his counterparts.”
The Baloch analyst noted that Prime Minister Imran Khan is not satisfied with FM Qureshi’s performance. He said, “It would have been better if he would have visited several capitals and also even have made paved way for visits of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Reportedly, The Prime Minister is not happy with FM Qureshi’s performance.”
Read more: Modi is the greatest obstacle in Pak-India dialogue: FM Qureshi
Achakzai continued, “So far the Parliament is dormant; opinion leaders are even not remotely engaged; few journalists and pundits have access to PM House; Foreign Office is also overstretched and looking forward to the political direction; confusion over air access to India is creating doubts on the consistency of Pakistan’s India policy; the government faces narrative credibility as its spokespersons are not fit for purpose, (i.e., the point man on Kashmir even cannot speak English.”
The Baloch geo-strategist concluded, “It is time Prime Minister expands the talent pool, engages people with relevant talent, skills and expertise. Reinvigorated Kashmir and India policy awaits drafting a new team of talent to execute—will Prime Minister listen to is another ballgame.”