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The pro-Indian policy

Tatyana Shaumyan: "It's useless to pressure the Indians"

The pro-Indian policy

On January 21, an official visit of Barack Obama to India began. Head of the Center for Indian Studies at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Tatiana Shahumyan, in the run-up to this event, told in an interview to why India's policy will always be Indian.

- Tatyana Lvovna, today we are witnessing the eastern turn of Russia. An important milestone in it was the arrival in December of 2014 by Vladimir Putin in Delhi. It's no secret that the visit took place in a rather difficult time for Russia. Nevertheless, this did not prevent the signing of a whole package of agreements. The official position of India, which clearly condemns the sanctions pressure on Russia, was also a breakthrough. How do you think, the more dictated this principle?

- I would say several reasons at once. First, India and Russia already have established economic relations: for example, in energy, metallurgy, and space technologies. New opportunities are emerging today in medicine, pharmaceuticals, IT and telecommunications, as part of joint development of the Arctic.

Secondly, our relations in the military sphere play an important role. Supplies of weapons from Russia, India, whatever it is, cherishes.

Perhaps, India's traditional desire to demonstrate the independence of its foreign policy, coupled with leadership potential, also plays a role. In this context, I recall one incident. Once Indira Gandhi was asked: "Tell me, do you adhere to a pro-Soviet, pro-Chinese or pro-American policy?" She then replied that she adheres to a pro-Indian policy. The continuity of this position remains in our time.

India has ambiguous points in determining a number of territories.

"You mean Kashmir?"

- Not only Kashmir, but also the states of Goa and Sikkim. Therefore, the leadership of India took a rather cautious, somewhere even benevolent, position on the same Crimean referendum.

We should not forget also that Delhi knows perfectly well what sanctions are, and considers this policy unpromising. More recently, in the 1998 year after successful nuclear tests, India came under heavy pressure. By the way, in 2001, all sanctions were lifted. At that time it was beneficial to the United States, because Delhi was ready to support the Americans in the campaign against terrorism, which, in fact, was done subsequently.

- The reaction of the US State Department to the results of the Russian President's visit to India turned out to be negative, which, in general, was predictable. “We have seen reports that Indian companies have signed contracts with Russian companies. We continue to urge all countries not to do business with Russia as usual, ”State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said at a briefing. In your opinion, what consequences of the rapprochement between Russia and India may worry the US the most?

- You see, in principle, any rapprochement of the world's largest state and second-largest country in terms of the number and potential in the APR logically causes suspicion among a number of world players. And not only in the United States.

As for the US concern ... Americans are more concerned about the opening prospects of Russian-Indian cooperation in areas where they are trying to compete directly with Russia in India: this is, of course, energy and military cooperation.

- Then how do you generally assess the current level of Indo-American relations?

“Don't be fooled here. Americans themselves often like to say that there are two largest democracies in the world: the USA and ... India. Just imagine, the number of the Indian electorate today is over 700 million people! Considering only this fact, Indo-American relations have always been, are and, of course, will be. The intensity of two-way contacts will remain high.

In addition, the US is home to a significant Indian diaspora, whose population reaches 2-x million people. Many of its representatives are far from ordinary workers. They are Indians working in the largest scientific centers of America, in the same Silicon Valley. In addition to scientists and programmers in the US, there are many highly qualified lawyers and doctors of Indian origin. All these people are integrated into the economic life of America, but at the same time they maintain close relations with their former homeland. They too can not be underestimated, and their interests should be taken into account.

It must be said that the very fact of the election of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Americans was, let's say, a delicate situation. I will explain. In 2002, the state of Gujarat experienced serious clashes between representatives of two religious communities - between Hindus and Muslims. As a result, more than 2 thousand Muslims died. The Americans then accused Narendra Modi, the state's chief minister, that he had deliberately not done anything to prevent these murders, now known as the Gujarat pogrom. Imagine if we are talking about sanctions, then the US then deprived Maudy of an American visa. That's why the delicacy of the situation is from here: a person who was deprived of a visa by the US took the highest position in the country. But the Americans have overcome all this. Wanted and overcome. 26 May 2014 year, Narendra Modi took office, and already in September was in the United States. I must say that Obama gave him a special welcome, which was more like a procedure for restoring relations.

- It's clear. And what tasks do the United States and India now have in the development of bilateral relations?

- Much is being done in the economic sphere. So, in the field of increasing trade turnover, extremely ambitious tasks have been set. Now it is $ 70 billion a year, but it is planned to bring it up to $ 500 billion a year.

Further. India consumes the sixth position in the world in terms of energy consumption. Americans are ready to invest in the development of renewable energy sources on the territory of Hindustan in order to reduce Delhi's dependence on energy imports. As far as I know, serious joint developments of Indian and American experts on climate change are already underway. Of course, there are legal restrictions that inhibit cooperation, including problems of intellectual property. But both sides are actively working to streamline all these regulators.

- Are there any points of contact for Delhi and Washington in the field of geopolitics?

- Yes. A common problem is the rise of China. They are trying to prevent an imbalance of power in the region. Both the Indian and American press openly write about this.

Well, finally, let's not forget Afghanistan. I think the United States is extremely interested in India taking part in its future. We cannot predict what will happen in Afghanistan in two months, and the Indians are extremely interested in stability there. In the case of the return of the Taliban, which is very likely after the Americans left, the exacerbation of the situation will hit Pakistan and India first.

- You mentioned the importance of deterring China. Indeed, US policy in the APR today is built on the formation of a kind of anti-China coalition, which includes, in particular, Japan, South Korea, Australia. Is it possible to connect India to this military-political project?

- No. Indians in principle do not participate in such projects. India will not join any military alliances and coalitions. The Indians have their own concept of foreign policy, which, by the way, does not presuppose the presence of any military bases on the territory of other states.

And the main thing is that the Indians do not need the anti-Chinese military-political project. They are interested in solving their internal problems in order to be able to economically restrain China, to keep up with it. In this direction they are ready to conduct a dialogue with the Americans.

Look at the recent rhetoric of Narendra Modi. He understands very well that India is a strong country, but it has a serious internal problem. Until now, about 30% of the population lives below the poverty line. The country is now focusing on solving this problem.

The main slogan today is Make in India... The Make in India policy is aimed at expanding the production and production base of the country. India needs external sales markets, and this is an important moment for the rapprochement between India and the United States. As well as with other countries.

- In India, everything is ready for Barack Obama's visit. Officially, he arrives in order to take part in celebrations on the occasion of Independence Day. Is it realistic for the US to somehow influence Narendra Modi's position, his course, on closer cooperation with Russia?

- We can hardly say that India at the expense of its relations with Russia will develop relations with the United States. India does not understand and does not perceive when pressure is being put on it. Yes, it can be said that it is useless to put pressure on Indians. They objectively understand the role of their country in world politics. And India today is ready for a serious breakthrough, and this should be considered.

The editorial board of EastRussia is grateful to the Sector of Oriental Philosophies of the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences and personally to Stepanyants M.T. For assistance in organizing interviews.

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