Russian President Putin’s decision to pull out his military resources from Syria has been received with much skepticism and analysts are pulling out all the stops to examine the decision from every angle. Till late the Russian Air Force was using its might with 140 sorties against the defences of Palmyra in the last three days of the battle against the ISIS (Daesh). Although some fixed wing aircraft are reported to have been withdrawn there have been an equivalent number of attack helicopters which are reported to have been inducted.
A ceasefire deal to end the fighting in Eastern Ukraine was reached in Minsk after a marathon session of negotiations running into almost seventeen hours amongst the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France. This seeks to end a year of bitter fighting that has seen many thousands killed and millions uprooted from their homes. The main points of the peace agreement are:
- Ceasefire to begin at 00.00am local time on 15 February
- Heavy weapons to be withdrawn in a two week period starting from 17 February
- Amnesty for prisoners involved in fighting
The India-Russia Strategic partnership was formed in the year 2000. Russia was the first country with whom India established a strategic partnership and in the year 2010 during the 11th Summit, India and Russia elevated their relationship to a “Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership” status, indicating a mutual desire to emphasize the exceptional closeness of ties.
Developments in Ukraine should be understood as part of US/EU's project of stretching the frontiers of "Europe" eastwards as far as possible in order either to eventually topple the present Russian political and economic order from within and make Russia a "European" country, or isolate it as a political and economic backwater beyond a "European" buffer extending into the former Soviet Union's heartland.
"Europe" for the protagonists of this strategy is a geography of shared values of democracy, market economy, freedom of expression, rule of law and respect for human rights.
As the situation in Ukraine deteriorates, foreign powers are getting overtly involved. Russian forces are already deployed in the Crimea, and there is the live danger that they will also enter eastern Ukraine. It is important to try and understand what the issues and stakes are. What follows is an attempt at doing so.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s back to back visits to Russia and China from October 20 to 24 reflect the evolution of India’s external relations in a world with shifting power balances and the challenges faced in consolidating relations with tried and trusted friends with declining power and forging understanding with adversaries with rising influence who seek to advance their interests through tactical overtures of friendship.
The thirteenth Indo-Russian Summit was a fleeting affair, with President Putin spending less than twenty-four hours in Delhi. It came as the stakes in the extended neighbourhood are growing higher – Afghanistan, Iran, and the broader West Asian region are all in a state of flux that has serious implications for both India and Russia. Similar stakes are in play in the East, and once more, as India seeks to step up its engagement in the Asia-Pacific Region, there are implications for our interface with Russia here too.
Russia was the first country with which India established a strategic partnership in 2000 when Vladimir Putin became President and reversed the drift in ties under Boris Yeltsin when Moscow veered westwards and lost interest in its Soviet-era friendships.
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