Lt Gen (Retd) Ravi Sawhney to Russia
Lt General R K Sawhney, PVSM, AVSM, Centre Head & Senior Fellow, National Security and Strategic Studies & Internal Security Studies, VIF

Lt Gen (retd) Ravi Sawhney, Distinguished Fellow, Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) visited Moscow from 21st to 26th June 2010. During the visit, he met with a cross section of Russian establishments including Mr. Alexey N. Borodavkin, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and members of leading Think-Tanks including Dr. Vyacheslav A Nikonov, President, Polity Foundation, CEO of Russkiy Mir Foundation, Professor Dr. Vitaly Naumkin, Director, Russian academy of Sciences, Institute of Oriental Studies; Dr. Vladmir I. Sotnikov, Senior Research Fellow, Center for Pakistani Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies; Prof Victor G. Korgun, Head of Afghanistan Studies Department, Institute of Oriental Studies and Mr. Petr V. Tpoychkanov, Programme Coordinator, Carnegie Moscow Center.

Discussions focused on India – Russia relations, developments in Pakistan, current situation in Afghanistan and prospects for the future, role of China and the Shanghai Regional Cooperation in Afghanistan affairs, scope for regional cooperation, etc. The key assessments emerging from these discussions are as under:
• Russia maintains its preference fro early return of peace in Afghanistan and evolution of a regional approach in this process as indeed in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. While Russia would not like to get re-involved in seeking a military solution against the reemergence of the Taliban, it has serious reservations on the course of the current US-NATO operations, which are unlikely to succeed. It is also skeptical about the concept of re-integration of the Taliban; particularly, on its likely fallout on future politics of the country.
• The Russians are not sure of the Chinese agenda in Afghanistan, nor do they expect any major initiative in respect of the future of Afghanistan in view of internal contradictions within the member countries.
• The Russians appreciate the role being played by India in developmental activities in Afghanistan and would like these to be continued and indeed strengthened. They would themselves like to take up some major projects along the Salang Pass, but are feeling constrained on account of resources and the security concerns.
• There seems to be an impression in the Russian establishment and the Think-Tanks of cooling of warmth in Indo-Russian relations in recent years and would like this to be corrected through mutual discussions.

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