Russia makes a power play in South Asia

12th Apr, 2021

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L) and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi (R) pose for a photo prior to their talks in Islamabad, Pakistan, April 7, 2021

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited India and Pakistan this week, underscoring Moscow’s growing clout in South Asia. Russia’s recent influence in the region includes its mediation of border talks between India and China and its increasing role in an Afghan peace process with major Pakistani involvement. Lavrov’s first stop was New Delhi. Russia and India forged a strong friendship during the Cold War, but it has lost momentum in the last decade as each side has strengthened ties with the other’s rival: India with the United States and Russia with China. In recent years, the partnership has seemed to be driven more by nostalgia than by substance. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in 2014 that “if asked to say who India’s best friend is, [a child in India] will reply it is Russia because Russia has been with India in times of crisis.”

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