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West adopting policy to engage India in 'anti-China games': Russian foreign min

In this photo released by Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meets with Co-chairman of Germany's Alternative for Germany (AfD) party Tino Chrupalla in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP) (AP)Premium
In this photo released by Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meets with Co-chairman of Germany's Alternative for Germany (AfD) party Tino Chrupalla in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP) (AP)

  • Lavrov blamed Western nations of trying to undermine Russia’s close partnership and privileged relations with India
  • The comments come amid tensions between India and China along their common border in Ladakh

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday launched a broadside against Western countries accusing them of adopting an “aggressive and devious" policy to engage India “in anti-China games by promoting Indo-Pacific strategies."

In comments at the general meeting of the state-run think tank Russian International Affairs Council on Tuesday, Lavrov also blamed Western nations of trying to undermine Russia’s close partnership and privileged relations with India.

The remarks reflected Moscow’s suspicion of the Indo-Pacific concept – something Lavrov has made public several times.

The Russian foreign minister’s comments also come amid tensions between India and China along their common border in Ladakh. Russia has reportedly been playing a behind the scenes role pushing India and China to resolve the border standoff.

In his comments, Lavrov criticized Western nations for their “notorious concept" of a rules-based order and the use of sanctions for alleged chemical and cyber-hacking violations. Such punitive actions were taken without the involvement of global bodies under the UN, Lavrov said.

The Russian foreign minister also slammed Western countries for presenting their views and initiatives to the world as the “only correct ones," saying Russia was convinced it was better to work within global organisations despite existing differences.

The Western nations were also trying to restore the unipolar world order but poles such as “Russia and China are unlikely to be subordinate to it," he warned.

“However, India is currently an object of the Western countries’ persistent, aggressive and devious policy as they are trying to engage it in anti-China games by promoting Indo-Pacific strategies, the so-called ‘Quad’ while at the same time, the West is attempting to undermine our close partnership and privileged relations with India," Lavrov said. The “very tough pressure" from the US on India in the missile technology control area was aimed at this, he said – a possible pointer towards the US threat of imposing sanctions on India under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) for the more than $5 billion deal with Russia for S-400 air defence systems.

India, which greenlighted Australia’s participation in the Malabar naval exercises this year that involve the US, India and Japan, did not immediately respond to Lavrov’s remarks.

New Delhi has said that its ties with Russia are time-tested and stand independently of relations with other partners like the US.

Lavrov also accused Western nations of sidelining Russia and China while trying to co-opt others “into a unipolar world by any means possible."

He said the G20 group of developed and emerging economies was the “only mechanism outside the UN Security Council where it is still possible to come to terms based on a balance of interests."

This is because the G20 represents the G7 and Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) and others like Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Argentina, Indonesia and Egypt, he added.

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