28 January, 2021

Moscow Looks Eastward

Stung by the American snub on NATO expansion, Moscow hunts for new strategic partners

Moscow Looks Eastward

PRESIDENT Boris Yeltsin wasn't simply mouthing Soviet era sentiments when he told Prime Minister Deve Gowda: "We have been friends for many decades, and we remain friends. India is a stabilising force in the region." He was underlining current strategic expediency. The red carpet laid out in Moscow for Gowda, whose visit coincided with that of Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen, showed India and China are clear beneficiaries of a post-Cold War geopolitical battle between Russia and the West over NATO's eastward expansion.

The Indo-Russian summit came just days after Yeltsin met US President Bill Clinton in Helsinki, where Russia failed to get the West to budge on NATO plans to admit the former Soviet Union's satellite countries as members. The fact that Yeltsin played lavish host to top officials from two major Asian powers is a clear sign that, disillusioned with the West, Russia is looking east for strategic partners. India and China, who reject the "bloc policy" concept, serve just fine.

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