| AB Vajpayee and Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Wednesday. (AFP)
Moscow, Nov. 12: Laying out the roadmap of their evolving strategic partnership, Indian and Russia today argued for shunning “double standards” in fighting terrorism, giving due consideration to the interests of each member of the international coalition against terrorism and following international law in dealing with the terrorist menace.
If there were niggling doubts in anyone’s mind about a section of the Indian establishment hoping against hope to somehow cosy up to the sole superpower, the US, they were given a burial today. Russia and India waved the flag of a multipolar and pluralistic world order. Anything else was seen as unjust and, therefore, likely to be ineffective.
The building blocks of the Indo-Russian strategic partnership were not seen only in the growing cooperation in defence, science, high technology and commerce. The clear community of interests and a shared vision of regional and international issues were emphasised as the most vital component of the relationship.
The India-Russia joint declaration on global challenges and threats to world security and stability signed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and President Vladimir Putin is, therefore, an important milestone in emphasising the core values that underscore the ties between the two countries.
The major global challenges were identified as international terrorism, transnational organised crime, illicit drug trafficking, money laundering, aspects of globalisation that tend to erode pluralism, and environment and development. Dialogue, consultation and cooperation alone could promote global peace and security, the two countries noted.
They argued that only by preserving pluralism in all its aspects would a multipolar world become possible. Therefore, the declaration said, there should be no place for extremist ideology and intolerance.
The two countries vowed to “resist with their full might all forms of terrorism, including religious extremism, which has proved to be a hotbed of terrorism in their common neighbourhood”.
The significance of the declaration does not lie in the detailed listing of the litany of complaints against the US the two countries share. Its importance lies, as Putin pointed out, in defining “the major direction of the interaction between the two countries in the international arena in the twenty-first century”.
After signing the declaration, Putin said that since one of the most dangerous trends of modern times was terrorism, the two countries “were working together to elaborate the international legal basis of anti-terrorist cooperation”.
Russia’s approach, he said, was that in dealing with a majority of international problems, “serious results can be obtained through coordinated and collective action with a central role being played by the UN”.
The declaration echoed these sentiments by stressing the vital role of the UN and affirming that “the future international order based on multipolarity should be determined by collective and multilateral processes rather than unilateral ones”.