Russia’s newly-named ambassador to India said May 31 that political turmoil in New Delhi and the recent formation of a new government there would in no way affect increasingly cooperative relations between the two countries. According to Albert Chernyshev, a national consensus supporting friendly ties to Russia has long existed in India. Indeed, India’s new prime minister, H. D. Deve Gowda, declared upon taking office that he foresaw no major breaks with India’s existing foreign policy. (New York Times, June 1)
Maintenance of friendly ties with New Delhi is a major priority for Moscow, which has come to view India as one of the pillars of its diplomacy in Asia. Trade between the two Soviet-era allies has begun to revive in recent years, with turnover rising from $1.1 billion in 1994 to $1.8 billion last year. Military hardware has figured very prominently in those trade figures, and sources in Russia’s state arms trading company, Rosvooruzheniye, claim that it will more than double this year to $3.5 billion. Rosvooruzheniye also anticipates that contracts between the two countries, worth $7-8 billion, will soon be signed as part of a longer-term program to modernize and equip all of India’s service branches. According to Russian experts, as a result of long years of Soviet-Indian cooperation more than 60 percent of India’s military hardware is currently Russian-made. That level rises to 70 percent in the Navy and 80 percent in the Air Force. (Interfax, May 31)
Delegations to Chechen Talks Reflect Spectrum of Views.