Sushma Swaraj attends Russian national day event as chief guest
Sushma Swaraj’s presence at the Russian national day event only bolsters the view that India is determined to keep on the path of mending ties with Moscow
New Delhi: Signalling India’s determination to continue with its course correction of ties with Russia, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj attended the Russian national day event as the chief guest on Tuesday.
Attendance by Swaraj at national day events of countries has been rare. Normally such events are attended by ministers of state for foreign affairs or cabinet ministers holding other portfolios. A case in point: the Phillipines national day which was also on Tuesday was attended by Ashwani Kumar Choubey, minister of state for health and family welfare.
The signal sent out by Swaraj’s presence was unmistakable—that India accords high priority to its ties with Russia that were seen as fraying in recent years given India’s warming ties with the US.
India getting closer to the US especially since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office in May 2014 coincided with a down slide in ties between Russia and the West on issues ranging from the fallout of the annexation of Crimea in early 2014 to the downing of a Malaysian airliner by a Russian-origin Buk missile in 2014 in eastern Ukraine and the suspected poisoning of a former Russian intelligence agent living in Britain after defecting from Russia by allegedly by other Russian agents earlier this year.
India’s sliding ties with Russia also coincided with Moscow getting closer to India’s arch rival Pakistan in recent years.
Last month however, Modi met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi for an informal summit that was seen as tweeting ties between the two countries.
This meeting came amidst a strain in ties between India and the US on a number of issues including trade which is in India’s favour.
Swaraj’s presence at the Russian national day event only bolsters the view that India is determined to keep on the path of mending ties with Moscow, said a western diplomat who was present at the event on Tuesday.
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