Outcomes versus promises

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s whirlwind visit to Delhi earlier this month, lasting less than 24 hours, came just a month after the visits, in September, of U.S. Secretary of State Mike R. Pompeo and Defence Secretary James N. Mattis to participate in the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue with their Indian counterparts, Sushma Swaraj and Nirmala Sitharaman. Summit, dialogue The summit between the Indian Prime Minister and the Russian President is now an annual event, the protocol having been agreed upon by Mr. Putin and Manmohan Singh in 2005. Summits have often led to spectacular breakthroughs — in the 2009 meeting between Dmitry Medvedev and Mr. Singh the log-jam in the long pending sale to India of the Russian aircraft carrier, Gorshkov (since renamed Vikramaditya) could be resolved and, in the latest instance, the inking of the $5.4 billion S-400 Triumf missile defence system. The recent 2+2 Dialogue between India and the U.S., on the other hand, is a new concept, and while it has been hailed as a path-breaking event paving the way for an avalanche of state-of-the art defence equipment from the U.S., the outcomes from this initial meet were clearly dwarfed by what took place during Mr. Putin’s visit. The 2+2 Dialogue — a format the U.S. employs with some of its closest allies including Japan and Australia — has given the impression that India has come within the U.S. orbit of influence, detaching itself further from Russia. This impression is further heightened by India signing on to the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) recently. Lost in translation, however, is that India still fancies a close relationship with Russia, one of its and most dependable allies. A comparison of the Putin-Modi summit outcome with the promises made during the 2+2 Dialogue can hardly be a true index of what lies in the future. It may, nevertheless, be worth undertaking. The summit’s mega missile defence deal clearly took the shine off any promises made at the 2+2 Dialogue regarding future defence acquisitions from the U.S. Russia’s S-400 Triumf, possibly the best missile defence system in the world, comes with no strings attached. There is no Russian equivalent of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) in place. The S-400 Triumf can be deployed against all enemies, irrespective of any other defence choices that India might have.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/outcomes-versus-promises/article25304543.ece

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