tv Worlds Apart RT September 18, 2022 6:30am-7:01am EDT
will be successful, very difficult, time time to sit down and talk with own welcome to worlds apart. back in 1955 when the soviet liter nikita khrushchev was visiting in did he total peace host that most good you, daily were so most that if the indians were to come from the mountains helps the russians would be at their side price for almost 70 years and they, a russian engine partnership is still going strong despite mobile upheavals and times divergent interests. what keep the 2 together while also pulling them apart
to discuss that i'm now joined by mike maids and done a senior fellow and they observe a research foundation in debt. my great, great to talk to you. thank you very much for your time. happy to be here. now, as i mentioned, india has been pursuing its path of strategic balance. been russia with the soviet union on the one hand on the west for why some time. and i think it never before hasn't been so challenging and so rewarding. but you are still arguing in favor of india reducing its reliance on russia. why is that you've been reading my pieces? well, i think it's not so much about reducing reliance on russia as it is about taking positions that are more in keeping up with a global outlook on the nature of conflict. so i think there is a distinction to be made on the one hand, india and russia, the former soviet union have had a very strong,
very deep historic relationship. and i think in the region that both countries inhabit, which is the region region. there's no question that indian need strong partners. so there is that reality. however, they specifically in the context of, i would say 2 things. one is the invasion of ukraine in february this year. and one is a general perception that there is a kind of divergence on definitions of what democracy stands for in the west and in other parts of the world. india is kind of finding it says caught in the middle. it took a very nuance, very, you know, very, a very nuanced position on ukraine. and i don't think it had really any options at that time in terms of indian realities, regional realities, foreign policy compulsion. i think it did the best it could and i'm talking about
in february. well, let's talk about that in more. yeah. so this diversion use on conflict and there is no escaping the fact that india has benefited a great deal from destruction in the oil trade in russia. the game as a result of that conflict, your country has increased its purchase as of oil from russia. tremendously secure, a large stock of oil and gas at affordable prices. when many countries are struggling with galloping inflation. do you think that was wrong on the part of indian? you know, i don't know if there's any right and wrong in a specific sense in foreign policy because these decisions are taken keeping many factors in mind. so from the perspective of wender, india should have made a stronger alliance with the west, against the russian invasion. it may seem, as it may be seen as something that was deliberate and beneficial, on the other hand as an emerging economy with its own compulsions of employment.
and you know, inflation and things like that. the need for reliance on non western partners is an indian reality, and it has been an indian reality that predates the invasion of ukraine. so in this position, the idea of strategic autonomy, the foreign policy basis, or that in the works with right now is basically making the argument that india chooses. its partners and allies are differently. it shows that it's economic relationships differently. so you can even see, for example, that just just now in this last week alone in india has stayed out of the trailer at the, in the pacific economic forum. and on the other hand, it is taking a leadership role at the shanghai corporation organization meeting the thing business back is done. so in this thing, we're partnering with the quad on certain things we're partnering with the indian
difficult balancing that you've been doing for many take it out. can i ask you quickly about the, the so called democratic credential or democratic values that's supposedly headed towards the west because she, you know, i would give it food it's it's looks like an authentic democracy. but when we look at the west, the with not only various democratic purchases there in terms of how the governments are being elected. but all those wars launched are voluntarily all the carnage that they have cost. all the insecurity, all degree that they have, i just as a, as a former warrant, what i'm struggling to marry that with all this rhetoric about, you know, democratic values and they're based order. i just, yeah. stand, why needs that kind of sort of western democratic stand when it's a democracy, it's something to be more general geniune than some of the western democracies.
yeah, so, you know, i think that's an interesting question. ok, i know that you've asked me and you could argue in some way that maybe india is facing an identity crisis of its own right. from the time of independence, india has had a history of modeling. it says on western liberalism secularism, individual liberties and things like that. what we're seeing is a reaction to you know, a western beast order coming from part of the world. and i think when you look at that in the point that you mentioned on the face of it, yes, it's a strong democracy. we have elections every 5 years. there's a huge mandate for this government. there's no question about it. what does the government do with its mandated democracy? i keep saying, and this is a perhaps applicable to russia as well. a democracy is not just about the will of the majority. it's also about the protection of the minorities. and so that becomes
the baseline. it's about the protection of institutions that support individual freedoms, but then i don't want to mention it. i refer interrupting here. i think many are russians in many chinese, and frankly, many of my indian guests have argued that the primary goal of the government is serving the people and the any government should be judged not on the not so much on the quality of the procedures. although that is important, but on the actual results and on the improvement in the lives of the people. and when we look at the actual speakers of people, based from poverty for india, for russia, with china, the record is pretty strong. the same cannot be sad about western countries, neither about, you know, it's more about europe. so are they ultimately democratic at the serving the population in this don't make sense? yes. so i think those are valid criticism looks on and there's no question about the fact that was a valid question. they're valid criticism. i mean, again, take a look at what happened in the week of the invasion of ukraine in february,
right. what was the reaction and the commentary from non western countries? how is it ok for the west to have gone into iraq and afghanistan and the middle east, and blah, blah, blah. and you know, so this is a hypocrisy in the word order. and i think that hypocrisy is bad and plain for everyone to see. however, saw india. i think the question and the challenges. while there may be a hypocrisy, that sleigh bed, what is it? what are the values that the indian democratic system stands for? and if the indian democratic system firmly believes that, you know, an aggression or war is not the way to solve border conflicts, or that, you know, minority writes need to be protected everywhere in the world. how do you balance that with, with the realities of the world that you're living?
and so why, while while india manages it's strategic autonomy carefully, it does use the idea of western hypocrisy as a, you know, as a legitimizing factor as well. right? so in there can argue that the west cannot impose its alliances and it's partnerships on india. india routines. the choice to decide whether it wants to engage with russia, india, regional security, regional economic imperatives are very different. the west is pulled out of, of done is done. it's not going to come back into that part of the was indian needs a strong, stable neighborhood. now, does that strong, unstable neighborhood also sometimes come at the cost of certain democratic principles for me? i think that's a really complicated question. there are others, it is nationalists to will argue that you know, security is more important and therefore this is ok. so i think it really depends on where on that line you stand. let's talk about what you're referring to. the
russian invasion of your brain in russia, it's term there's a special military operation. and i think in order to put that in into context, you know, have to go back to the previous round of confrontation. that is the cold war. we should do the signing of the final house and of course in 1975, which were based on the promise of sovereign equality and this principle, the spirit of indivisible security. the spirit that was later abandoned in favor of the american lad had you on a piece. now, i know for a fact and i think it's impossible to argue that this did not happen. the russians did try to settle their security than major strategic security differences over ukraine with the well, joe biden advisor put mad they spoke about the phone a couple of times, but that was continuous millage, arising, ukraine. so that was a security challenge for russia. whether you like it or not. now whether russia was
way of settling, it is a good one. i don't think anyone would argue that it was a good one weren't, weren't never good choice. but do you think those differences that clearly were pretty big in 2021, 2000. and what did you do you think that would have been subtle without war? do you think the west would have ever recognized russia's legitimate concerns or having an anti russian state on its border with if we are talking about developing a nuclear bomb and possibly even do it in? right. so, you know, santa hindsight is always 2020. you're asking me if it could have been settled differently. we'll never know the answer to that question, right? that's a strategic word equation strategically. so i think, i think the thing is, in a sense to answer, you know, that the point that you're raising when india took the positions it did in february and march and april at the united nations on the was stage. the kind of comment you
saw from the indian foreign minister s j shanker who actually made, you know, it was an off the cuff remark, but it got a lot of traction, which is that, you know, european western europe orders are uses more russian energy. and yet, russian oil and one afternoon than india doesn't a whole month. right. so i think in this position takes into account the contradictions that you are talking about, right? because it recognizes the fact that there is no western way. prime minister narrows idea of non alignment along with some other countries. was premised on this reality that countries like india were always going to be put in a situation where they would have to make a choice. so how do you insulate younger countries? how do you insulate poor countries from being overly dependent on one side or the other and find a way to deal with boat as best as possible? so you can make the argument that today's idea of strategic autonomy that are
foreign minister and our prime minister talk about is really an adaptation of non alignment of the sixties and the seventies and the 80s, right. where, when the cold war was raging, india needed to insulate, it says from that you talk about, you know, russian realities, these are the ukraine. these are in reality is, is that the pakistan as well. and as a result of that, and now these are the china indian does not really have a choice, but to ensure that it's engagement with russia ready. so in that context, i think the idea that you know, the west is trying to push in there to take a very fun stand. i think the west itself has realized that they can't push into, to take that stand. and if you notice conversations and dialogue with western partners in western alliances, oh allies for india has also changed and you will find india do that balancing. for
example, even i think it was just last week or 2 weeks ago, there was a procedural vote at the united nations that, that suggested that the ukrainian premier zalinski addressed the un by a tele conference or video conference. and on that there was pressure on india to vote against it, but he just said, no, it's okay, let him address by teleconference. that's fine. my let, let us last here for a 2nd because we need to take a short break, but we will definitely look more in details in just a few moments. ah ah ah, ah,
ah. a what's going back to me with my attention, donny, a senior fellow at the observer research foundation in india. my. and we've been talking about the security concerns with both of pakistan and china. and we are recording this interview right in the hands of many asian nations. including china, including pakistan, including including, including russia, i gather in that to sound for the summit of the shanghai corporation organization.
it's a pretty big geopolitical outing for many of those leaders. it's that 1st in person, for in the business after they call the 19 damage. how significant does that any of you? i think it's hugely significant also, don't forget that it's been going to be an induction of it on in this, around of the su as well. so no, i mean, the shiny corporation organization has positioned, it said, as a regional grouping for your asian country, central asian countries. in india, china, russia. and it's very interesting grouping because within many of them there are ongoing conflicts. i remember covering one of the 1st meetings of the se in 2009 when india and pakistan attended that. that summit, as i special guests of the seo and prime minister montmorency and present that he met on the sidelines of that summit. and catherine book and you know, there was,
there was a scope that could, these summits be used to create a different kind of dialogue process out of the public play bilateral conversations within a multilateral framework. so there is no getting away from the fact that this grouping is really important. so i think it also under scores india's strategic autonomy that we were talking about just a little while ago. because just about a week ago or india of hosted a summit, you know, a meeting of the quad in delhi and where they talked about trade and fed economy and the, the formulas of the i p f now is making it's, you know, you talked about self interest and national interest, i think strategic autonomy is about nathan interest. but here is where the hypocrisy comes in that i talked about earlier. and western democracies, eurasian autocracies, whatever you want to call them, right?
every new, you know, every want to call them asian or talk. this is to be honest with every, every nation, every sovereign nation state is acting in self interest today. and i think that is what is posing a challenge to a global rules based order. because, you know, the question that india asks very often is whose rules are, is the global order playing by. and the se becomes an option and a forum for a different set of countries of the world. just to say that this is a non western grouping. they're all very strong political leaders in their own right in these countries. and they are energy power, houses, economic power houses. they have large populations, you know, and they're saying that is a different part of the world that saying that look at a different grouping. and i think that you're kind of interested them asking in their self interest is a challenge. i wonder if that is
a somewhat outdated mentality because, you know, when most of them, even if you look at the official goal of the summit, i mean, it sounds somewhat boring. a very formal. they're talking about economic cooperation and trade connectivity, but it is taking place at a time when all production chains are being routed and their new opportunities. like for example, for india to stock up on, let's say russian energy. there are many other opportunities for other countries. but i know there is no answers to that, but i wonder, what's your intuition? do you think these are these dr. for synergy? especially at these difficult economic ties. do you think there's a chance that it will overcome the old howard grievances, the old sort of spoiler tendencies on the point of some of them isn't in their mutual interest to pursue their self interest in that mutually beneficial way? yeah, i mean, i would say yes it is, but will there be spoilers? i'm sure they will because you know, in is looking at actually also engaging with iran at this as seo and,
and resuming the oil trade. the energy trade with it on it was suspended under the trump administration under threat of western sanctions. on india, the china in their relationship is a hostile one. both countries will argue that they are acting in the national interest. and yet, there is, you know, an act of military aggression on india's eastern borders by china will the s, you'll be able to put pressure on china as a member state to try and mitigate some of this. now, if that happens, when china turn around, say, say for example, and i'm, i'm being, you know, i'm speaking hypothetically over, he'll say, for example, russia says china needs to work together with india to resolve a border dispute. is china going to turn around and tell rochelle when you walked into ukraine? why didn't you do what you're telling us to do?
as far as i know, the tone of conversation and the russians and their chinese is very different. i think that putting a lot of premium on be on the can on their relationship as a container with which differences all be sure that could be expanded on what broadly throughout the region to when the countries would understand that it's in that medium. i mean, was to keep that i think, going rather than subtle. i think there is some, there is something in that that india certainly hope that russia can do. you know, these are the 3 biggest players in that region, both in terms of, you know, land mass in terms of the economy in terms of strategic imperative. so they are the 3 big players. and i definitely think that the indian foreign policy machinery sort of look said ways to get an engagement that would mitigate the china india tension. somewhat. can russia play a role in that?
i know that there are meetings scheduled on the sidelines of the a c o summit. i'm not quite sure when they will take place will probably know more about that as we go along. but it also. yeah, it's also interesting to just sort of look at the timing of everything, right? they'll finish with the seo, the un general assembly is happening around the same time. you know, there's lots of, so things going on in the one that's the only not very fast and actually fast. yeah . i know that you've been somewhat skeptical about the dipping cooperation between russia and china, especially as russia distances. and so from there was to put it mildly, but if we actually look at the practicalities of their rational engine partnerships, i think it's by far the most progressive in terms of 2nd circumventing western restrictions. because there's already an increased trade in oil. and coal is mentioned, there are some very no mechanisms of circumventing insurance pressure. the 2
countries are also talking about not just talking to have already created the mechanism in paying a national currency. so in terms of the practicalities of corporation rush in just sort of had them, let's say russia and china be honest with you. yeah, i mean, also the member that, you know, when it came to sort of military and defense, for example, the indian government went on out there to ensure that there would be, you know, the requisite waivers would be, would be procured when it came to say the s 400, for example, the gas weaver was something that was very, very, very much talked about in the foreign policy sell kit in delhi. it was, it was a thing that, you know, in there had to ensure that it would ensue, needed sell from western pressure, especially on defense and energy. this is a healing and the that it has a special capacity to do that because each camp ones, india to side both the russians that historically has been pretty minimal and
amicable to india. sensibilities and the western can also wants to continue doing business with india, speaking of which india assumes the presidency of both dish and high corporation organization and g 20. later this year. what do you think it can bring to this table to it at this crucial make or break moment and local history? what, what it can bring? and it's an interesting question. so i know that, you know, when i, when the conflict 1st adopted in february, there was a lot of conversations around the possibility of prime minister movies rule personally as somebody who knows and has a good working relationship with a me to 10 as well as somebody who has an engagement with the west? i mean, you know, the u, as in india, calls themselves natural allies and natural partners so that there was an
expectation and there might still be an expectation that in there can play that bridge. i mean, you said it very well right now that you know both sides seem to want india to be an active partner. and i can be done without the the worst actually wanting to put an end to this one. because i mean, if you, if you look at russia strategic interest, russia is bleeding. it doesn't want to spend resources on fighting in your credit, needs to come to some sort of amicable security arrangement. you know, to make. yeah. that made us troops will be stationed in your brain, and it would be more than happy to put an end to this you know, browser really what i mean. those are families across the border. it's not, it's not a foreign country to us. but then many people, both here in russia and i purchased a manual is different in the west. adjusting the west is interested in prolonging this for us as long as possible. first to we can russia and 2nd of all, to use the opportunity to sort of reset itself to introduce the kind of draconian
or stringent policies that would have been unthinkable a couple of years ago in both in terms of energy saving and in terms of many other social policies, what do you think about that? i mean, you know, i think that's not an analyst say, lots of things. i think for the way it's important to for them, for the west to kind of ask themselves what the west perceives as a bigger threat. is it russia, these are the ukraine and what that means for western europe, or is it china and the economic threat that china poses to the entire western order? and i think that's a conversation that's probably taking place in the corridors of london and washington and, and where have you up there is obviously an urgent need globally for some sort of an impasse or an end to the conflict between russia and ukraine. and i
think that we saw even the u. n. g speak to mr. brewton recently. and, and that's from a humanitarian perspective. leave alone, the strategic and the economic and the conflict that's from the perspective of, you know, food supply chains or energy supply chain impacting ordinary people like you and meets a. so there is an imperative. now, you know, so dying this up with the seo and with g 20 and a country like india, which is sort of wanted as a partner by both sides because of the economic potential that india brings to the table. i think india would probably would, you know, want to leverage that in some capacity. again, coming back to the procedural go to the united nations. last week. you saw that as india saying, you know, on things that are not very significant. it's fine to take certain positions and,
and on, on those abstention has proven to be the best way forward for india so far, because it sends a message that it's not going to take aside beyond a point. and no matter what the pressure is, either from the west or from russia, india, the dean, is that that autonomy to ensure that the decisions it's taking all the positions, it's taking a while solving their 1st. and i think when it comes to that, there is no ambiguity in bought the prime ministers. mind all the foreign ministers mine that strategic autonomy means that india is responsible player on the world stage, but also and shows that its own interest. i thought my rehab to me to bear, but thank you very much for this amazing conversation. not at all. thank you for having me on center. and thank you for watching. talked to sir again, next week on walter part. ah, i with
year, a year with our correspondence gets caught in ukraine's showing of done yet where at least 4 people are reported killed in the latest attack is quite key, of course. a breakdown of democracy. that's the european parliament assessment of hungary. it says the country can no longer be considered a full democracy, lot of me or put and condemns the west to saying it has cultivated the idea of destroying russia for decade. and is using ukraine as opposed to achieve that goal .
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