Diplomacy

India Pulls Focus to 'Independent Foreign Policy' in Response to Lavrov's 'Anti-China Camp' Claim

The Russian foreign minister had said India was “currently an object of the Western countries’ persistent, aggressive and devious policy as they are trying to engage it in anti-China games..."

New Delhi: Days after Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov stated that India is being pressurised to join the anti-China club by United States, New Delhi said it hoped that India’s partners understood that it pursued an “independent foreign policy” based on national interests.

“We have seen the comments of the Russian Foreign Minister on India as part of his remarks during the general meeting of the Russian International Affairs Council on 8 December 2020,” said MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava in answer to a question on Lavrov’s remarks.

Lavrov had stated that India was “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”.

Also read: Quad: US Pitches for Anti-China Collaboration; Cautious Public Silence From Other 3

He also stated that this was also the “goal of the US’ very tough pressure on New Delhi in the MTC (Military and Technical Cooperation)”.

In response, Srivastava stated, “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”.

He also observed that India has “long standing relations” with Russia, noting that 2020 also marks two decades of a strategic partnership. “Our relations with Russia stand on their own merits including in the sphere of Military Technical Cooperation”.

In reference to Russia’s criticism of ‘Indo-Pacific’ concept and the ‘Quad’, he pointed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at the Shangri-La dialogue in June 2018. “It is not directed against any country. It stands for a free, open and inclusive region,” he added.