Russian President Dmitry Medvedevs warm reception in India, including wrapping up a stealth fighter jets deal potentially worth $35 billion, dispels Russian fears its former Cold War ally has turned to the West.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has in the space of a few months hosted all the leaders of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, said Russia is a time-tested friend of India at the start of Medvedevs two-day trip on Tuesday. Russia has been Indias close economic and political partner since Soviet days, and monopolized Indias defense market for decades, but India wants to reduce its reliance on one country to reflect its growing influence on the world stage.
President Dmitry Medvedev has done well to dispel the growing misperception that Indo-Russian relations have lost their salience amidst Indias new warmth with the US and the West, the Indian Express newspaper said in an editorial on Wednesday.
Medvedev will spend his last day in India touring the Taj Mahal in Agra, meeting students in Mumbai and touring Bollywood film studios. Russia joined the United States and France in offering support for India for a permanent seat at an expanded Security Council to reflect the growing might of emerging economies.
India says a seat on the Security Council would reflect the G20 nations importance as its $1.3 trillion economy helps spur global growth and its government exerts more and more influence over issues from Doha trade to climate talks. Indias growing ties with the United States, underscored by a landmark civil nuclear deal, has made Russia ill at ease. (The Zaman)