The Guardian July 26, 2000


India and China to be priority areas for Russia

by Fred Weir

Russia will place new emphasis on its relations with India and is ready to 
support its candidacy for permanent membership of a reformed United Nations 
Security Council as part of Moscow's new foreign policy doctrine, announced 
by Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov recently.

In introducing the first full revision of Moscow's international 
orientation since 1993, Mr Ivanov insisted that Russia remains a superpower 
and that the main military threat comes from the US.

"We have completed development of our new foreign policy", Mr Ivanov told a 
news conference in Moscow. "Present day experience and stormy developments 
on the world stage demand a new attitude to some issues and some changes to 
our previous approaches."

The new doctrine stresses that India, China and the former Soviet states of 
Central Asia will be the priority areas for Russian foreign policy.

Mr Ivanov said that Russia has been "very satisfied" to find common ground 
with India and China on key strategic questions and the fight against 
international terrorism.

A major emphasis of Russian policy in future will be the struggle against 
terrorism, "which is capable of destabilising the situation not only in 
individual states but in entire regions", he said.

Moscow will also promote sweeping changes to the United Nations, including 
an expanded Security Council to give permanent representation to populous 
nations which are also potential global economic powerhouses.

In recent meetings with Indian officials, Mr Ivanov and Russian President 
Vladimir Putin have explicitly supported India as a future permanent member 
of the Security Council. Mr Putin is slated to visit India on October 2 to 
4.

Russia's foreign policy will be much more pragmatic than in the past, and 
fewer of the nation's resources will be devoted to overseas activities, Mr 
Ivanov said.

"The point is to make our policy more rational, more profitable in the 
political and economic sense", he said.

He warned that Russia has been deeply disappointed by the failure of post-
Cold War hopes for partnership with the West, and particularly by the 
expansion of the military alliance NATO to the borders of the former USSR.

Military challenge

The main military challenge Moscow sees today comes from plans by the 
United States to scuttle three decades of nuclear arms control and build an 
anti-missile defence shield to protect North America from so-called 
"nuclear rogue states".

"If these plans go ahead, Russia will take adequate measures to defend 
itself. No one should underestimate Moscow's capacity or determination. 
Russia was, is and will always be a superpower", Mr Ivanov added.

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Hindustan Times

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