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Pakistani Stream: Russia Goes South – Just Beginning

Sergey Savchuk

The foreign press reports that Russia continues to work to build up its strategic presence in key points on the world map. In this case, we are not talking about the army and the navy. It is about energy and specifically about the “Pakistani Stream”.The other day in Islamabad, a bilateral meeting ended, at which groups of technical specialists from both countries confirmed their readiness to implement the project, for which the development and coordination of technical issues and documentation will continue. The main difference from the memorandums of previous meetings is that geological exploration will begin along the route of the potential gas pipeline. That is, the future pipe makes its first step from paper to the ground.

Initially, the idea of ​​the project arose at a difficult time. In 2015, an intergovernmental agreement was signed on the development and construction of the North-South gas pipeline. With a length of almost 1,100 kilometers and a cost of about $ 2 billion. The implication was that Russian contractors would build a transit line from the port of Karachi to the city of Lahore. The peculiarity of the technical idea was that it was necessary to additionally build a regasification terminal in the port. There LNG would be delivered using sea LNG carriers. After being transferred back to a volatile state, it would go strictly north to the Punjab province.

For the next two years, the project moved very slowly. The parties could not agree on the size of tariffs for pumping gas. It is noteworthy that Russia demanded an increase in cost, otherwise the project was economically unprofitable. Then the next US sanctions were imposed on the Rostec corporation, the key executor on the part of Russia. That further impeded the implementation. 

Renaming the project – Pakistani Stream

Last fall, the parties revised the terms of the agreement again. This time exclusively at the request of Islamabad. The share of Pakistan’s participation in the project has grown from 51 to 74 percent. The condition of attracting and using only Russian materials, components and equipment is strictly stipulated. It was decided that Russia’s investment will not exceed 25 percent. Pakistan will cover all other costs. In the spring of this year, the project was renamed “Pakistani Stream”. The energy ministers of both countries announced their readiness to start construction in the very near future.

Pakistan is a country with a population of over 220 million. If you mark on tracing paper the location of all Pakistan’s power plants, and then superimpose this tracing paper on a physical map of the country, a critical imbalance will be visible to the naked eye. 20 stations operating on oil products. 22 thermal power plants operating on natural gas. Nine coal and three nuclear power plants. Pakistan needs light in the homes of its citizens and reliable sources of energy.

The implementation of the “Pakistani Stream” with a capacity of 12.4 billion cubic meters of gas per year will provide fuel for new power plants. That, in turn, will feed industrial enterprises concentrated in Punjab, on the border with India. If the project turns out to be successful, nothing prevents the gas pipeline from being extended to the capital. The transport shoulder from the city of Multan to Islamabad is just over four hundred kilometers.

Possible avalanche of global transformation

There is not the slightest doubt that the revitalization of the region is connected both with the political changes in Afghanistan and with the completion of the construction of Nord Stream 2. Russia has clearly shown that it is capable of completing any projects, even under the pressure of massive sanctions. India is striving to become the main metallurgical power in the world It simultaneously needs the iron ore of Afghanistan, coking coal and blue fuel from Russia. Pakistan wants to reach a new level of industrial development. This again requires natural gas, and all neighboring countries themselves are experiencing a deficit in it and clearly do not intend to share it with Islamabad. 

Afghanistan, in principle, is ready to absorb any amount of resources, since the electrification of the country, thanks to the incessant war, is at a medieval level.The American withdrawal from Afghanistan was the stone that moved an avalanche of global transformation. If the Taliban manage to keep the country from another all-out war of all against all, then in the very near future we will witness a battle for new energy, trade and industrial markets.

AUKUS – the beginning of the end of NATO?

Is creation of a new alliance between the US, UK and Australia – the beginning of the end of NATO pact?

So it started!

The announcement that the United States, Great Britain and Australia have entered into a joint pact in the field of defense and security, dubbed AUKUS, has become an event that has already caused quite a lot of noise in the world from the very beginning.

In particular, in China – this event was received with hostility. In Beijing, in general, they called this pact directed against China. And Chinese interests not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but also in the world. China announced that this agreement between the three countries intensifies the arms race and seriously undermines the “regional peace”.

In the EU, this event, judging by the first reactions of politicians and various institutions of power on this fact, was a complete surprise. And even more, it was the reason why one of the EU countries, namely France as a whole, announced that this agreement on the creation of a kind of alliance – “was a stab in the back” which undermined trust between the allies!

Moreover, I want to note that the reaction of France in this case is quite understandable. This event became the reason for Australia’s refusal to purchase submarines from Paris.

First reactions

In the countries of Oceania, this event, in general, was the reason for the condemnation of the creation of a new military-political alliance and the signing of this agreement. In New Zealand, this event became the reason for the statement that they would ban Australian submarines from leaving their waters!

Only in Russia so far, at the time of this writing, this event has not been commented on at the official level. It has not generally expressed any reaction, but I think that if not today, then tomorrow this event will still receive assessment.

I consider this event from the point of view as the beginning of the end of NATO.

Yes! This is exactly what it is in my opinion. European members of NATO were already shaken in their trust in the aliance leaders – USA. It seems that Afghanistan debacle was just a beginning of something much bigger. Has American establishment made assessment that NATO is not necessary and is too expensive? Are we starting to witness transition of an intelligence alliance known as the “five eyes” into new military alliance spreading over Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Will Europe be left to deal with “Russian threat” on its own?

Why do I think so?

Let’s consider this situation, or rather this event, from a purely political point of view. EU “neither sleep nor spirit” knew about the ongoing negotiations on the creation of this alliance. This came as a complete surprise to the EU! It should be noted that it can and even should be regarded as an open expression of mistrust and even disregard on the part of the United States, Great Britain and Australia for the interests of their allies from the EU. 

In fact Washington, London and Canberra are simply, and not so simply, created a new military-political alliance without notifying their closest allies in the military-political NATO bloc about it. Thus, openly demonstrating their true attitude towards their own allies!

The creation of US, UK and Australia alliance in the field of defense and security without notifying its NATO allies is essentially nothing more than an open demonstration of complete disregard for the opinions of its so-called “allies.” In my opinion, it is a very rash step on the part of the participants in the new pact. It suggests that there is a rather serious split in views in the ranks of NATO. This gives a clear understanding of the fact that the very essence of the meaning of NATO’s existence for some of its member countries, such as the United States and Great Britain, has simply lost its relevance.

There is no alliance without trust

Well, the right thing is how you can be an ally with those who talk about the need to confront threats to Europe, but at the same time, behind Europe itself, it creates new alliances, which not only leave Europe alone with China, but also take away from the countries of Europe large enough orders for their military products?

It is impossible to talk about some kind of alliance if one of the parties makes and creates new pacts, about which the other ally finds out only after the fact. What do we understand and say that there is no longer any sense in the existence of NATO!

Secondly, if this event is viewed from a purely economic and technological point of view, then it should also be noted that the creation of this new alliance is nothing more than the beginning of the end of NATO! Especially if we take into account the fact that Australia has abandoned its plans to purchase submarines from France. 

The United States essentially destroyed the multi-billion dollar deal between France and Australia. And even more than that, the United States has pledged to transfer its technologies for the production of nuclear submarines! Yes, not transfer them to NATO member countries, but Australia – not even a member of NATO. In my opinion it also suggests that there is no longer any sense in the existence of NATO!

Technology transfer

During the entire existence of NATO, the United States has shared its technologies only with Great Britain!

There is a possibility that Europe may be outraged for the sake of appearance and then calmly forget all this. It would not be the first time. 

Something inside tells me that it is quite real. The events of recent year demonstrate to the whole world the fact that NATO is no longer relevant! And this event underlines this very clearly!

Please share your opinion in the comments!

Is Shoigu most probable Vladimir Putin’s heir?

Sergei Shoigu was extremely popular even before Putin appeared on the arena, and in his native Tuva, some consider him the reincarnation of a mythical military leader

For the first time, Vladimir Putin was elected Russian president quite a long time ago – in 2000. The world was different then. Russia, of course, was no exception. This was even before the terrorist attacks on the United States, which marked the beginning of the American invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and greatly influenced not only geopolitics, but also further relations between Moscow and Washington. In those early days and years of Putin’s mandate, relations between Russia and the United States, especially when compared with the present, could even be called idyllic.

Of course, they weren’t perfect. But then US viewed Russia as a country that no longer poses a threat, as it did during the Cold War. Moreover, the United States saw Russia as a new economic partner and a new sales market. For ordinary Russian citizens, this meant the end of the so-called shock doctrine. Or apparent transition from socialism to capitalism. By the very nature of the new system, a small part of people became fabulously rich and influential (oligarchs). However, most of the people slipped down into poverty.

The first Russian president after the collapse of the USSR, Boris Yeltsin, did a lot for such a Russian future. The West was pleased, although it understood that Boris was not a “stable” leader. When his two mandates ended, it was time to look for an heir. He found him in his close associate, Vladimir Putin, who was then (in 1999) 47 years old.

West was happy with Putin winning against Communist candidate Zyuganov

As the Kremlin’s “elect”, Putin easily won the election in the first round, receiving 53.4% ​​of the vote. At the time, no one in the West asked whether these elections were “democratic and fair”. In the West, they were happy that Putin had won, and not his rival Gennady Zyuganov of the Communist Party, who came in second with 29.5% of the vote.

The tense relations between Russia and the United States as we know them today developed later. It all started when Putin “came up with an idea” to revive Russia and make sure that his country, even if it is capitalist now, does not serve exclusively as a place of Western interests. Tensions increased even more when Russia openly supported Syria a decade ago (the West listed it for “regime change”). Since 2015, Russia has been providing it with direct military support. Of course, the escalation reached its peak due to the Ukrainian crisis and the Russian withdrawal of Crimea in 2014.

Since then, we have seen only further divergence. Return to quasi-idyllic times can hardly be expected. The maximum that can be expected in a positive sense is the establishment of certain pragmatic relations, which will become possible, probably, when the international position of the United States is further weakened (today, after the withdrawal of the Americans from Afghanistan, we are apparently witnessing this) …

After many years, Putin remained the president of the Russian Federation. In principle, he remained in power since 2000, although from 2008 to 2012 he served as prime minister. Dmitry Medvedev was president for four years. But it is clear that Medvedev was only “holding the seat” for Putin and his return to the presidency.

Will Putin stay in power till he is 83?

Today, Putin has further consolidated his power by changing the constitution. It theoretically allows him to remain in power until 2036. Now Vladimir Putin is 68 years old, that is, in 2036 he will be 83. Is he really planning to rule for so long?

There are those who believe that it is likely that Putin will choose an heir instead of reigning himself until 2036. He himself never publicly announced the names of possible successors. For many years, a variety of assumptions have been made about who this could be. Over time, the names change, but for quite some time now one sounds more often than others. We are talking about a close associate of Putin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

Shoigu may well become a successor. Because, among other things, he is the second most popular politician in the Russian domestic political arena after Putin

In addition, Shoigu is a very unusual person in the Russian political elite. Despite his name, which sounds in Russian, he has an interesting background. He comes from the Russian Republic of Tuva. Republic is located on the border with Mongolia. Of course, this is an exotic part of Russia. Shoigu is one of the few representatives of Russian ethnic minorities with such a high position. Before becoming Minister of Defense, he headed the Moscow Region.

The name of Sergei Shoigu is undoubtedly heard today both in Russia and in the world. At a time when Russia is increasingly asserting itself in the international arena, the Minister of Defense is being spoken of more and more often. Therefore, the name of Sergei Shoigu is often heard in connection with the war in Syria, where Russia played a key role, as well as in connection with recent peace missions (Nagorno-Karabakh and the Central African Republic).

About Sergei Shoigu

In his native Tuva, Shoigu, of course, is considered a hero. It is interesting that some there consider him to be almost the reincarnation of Subedei, the famous Mongol military leader who devastated the territory of modern Russia and Ukraine eight centuries ago …

Shoigu began his career in the early 90s as head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations. For this reason alone, we can say that Shoigu is one of the “long-livers” in the Russian ruling circles. He was 36 years old when he became minister in 1991 (Shoigu was born on May 21, 1955). Immediately after taking office, he showed himself to be a very capable manager. He ran the ministry effectively and created an almost military structure and order there. Therefore, Shoigu enjoyed exceptional popularity in the early 90s, long before Putin became president.

Sergei Shoigu was born in the small town of Tyva Chadan. Population about nine thousand people. His father is an ethnic Tuvan Kuzhuget Shoigu. His mother is Russian, a native of Ukraine, Alexandra Yakovlevna. After leaving school in Tuva, he graduated from the Polytechnic Institute in Krasnoyarsk and became an engineer. For the next ten years, he worked on construction sites in different parts of the country. In the late 1980s, he entered politics and took a low position in a branch of the then ruling Communist Party.

In 1990 he came to Moscow and became Deputy Chairman of the State Committee of the RSFSR for Architecture and Construction. His appointment to the post of Minister of Emergency Situations brought him immense popularity, but his work and efficiency are behind this rise. Whatever happened: floods, earthquakes or terrorist attacks – Shoigu in any situation went to the place and did everything necessary.

He is certainly popular

Since the late 90s, he has been one of the leaders of the modern ruling United Russia party (at the time of its foundation it was called Unity). In 2000, Shoigu was not a deputy prime minister for long, but he started his main business a little less than ten years ago, when in 2012 he became (and remains to this day) defense minister (until then, he headed the Ministry of Emergency Situations).

Today, this man, of course, raises the popularity of the ruling party, which has been losing its supporters for some time now.

Undoubtedly, Putin has a favorite heir, which is practically necessary given that it would otherwise be chaotic if he dies suddenly. The name of the heir is kept in the strictest confidence and will definitely not be revealed while Putin is alive or until he declares that he is retiring.

Sergei Shoigu often appears with Putin during his break from politics. These two love to spend time in nature, hunting or relaxing in field conditions … Putin is in the foreground, but most often Defense Minister Shoigu stands behind him. Many people understand that these photos, which appear on the official pages of the Russian president, are not there by chance. Of course, the thought suggests itself that it is Sergei Shoigu who may become the one who is being talked about more and more, trying to look into the Russian future.

India will help Russia turn Arctic into global trade route

New Delhi is planning to assist in developing Russia’s Northern Sea Route (NSR). And turning it into an international trade artery, according to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“India will help Russia in the development of the Northern Sea Route and opening this route for international trade the same way as Russia helps India to develop with the aim of space exploration and the preparation of the national manned Gaganyaan program,” Modi said, speaking via video link at a plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum.

The Indian prime minister also said Moscow and New Delhi had managed to make significant progress in developing commercial ties despite massive disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The friendship between India and Russia has stood up against the test of time,” he said.

“Most recently, it was seen in our robust cooperation during the Covid-19 pandemic, including in the area of vaccines. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of the health and pharma sectors in our bilateral cooperation.”

According to the Indian head of state, an energy partnership between the two nations would bring greater stability to the global energy market.

Modi also said that such joint projects as the Chennai-Vladivostok sea corridor, which is currently under development, provide greater connectivity along with the North-South transport corridor.


Major deal on developing Russia’s Big Northern Sea Route sealed at Eastern Economic Forum

A broad agreement aimed at providing stable growth of exports, cabotage and transit traffic along Russia’s Arctic sea route has been signed at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok on Friday.

Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and the Ministry for Development of the Far East and the Arctic agreed to closely cooperate on projects aimed at developing the transport artery stretching along Russia’s Arctic coast.

“The Big Northern Sea Route from Murmansk to Vladivostok plays an important role in transport security, and connects by sea the European part of Russia with the Far East,” Rosatom’s director general, Aleksey Likhachev, told the media on the sidelines of the EEF.

“We are interested in promoting cooperation under this project with both Russian and foreign counterparts,” he added.

The Northern Sea Route lies from the Kara Gate Strait in the west to Cape Dezhnev in Chukotka in the east. The Big Northern Sea Route includes the Arkhangelsk, Murmansk regions and St. Petersburg and the Far East from the Northern Sea Route’s border in Chukotka to Vladivostok. The 5,500-kilometer (3,417-mile) lane is the shortest sea passage between Europe and Asia.

China begins the “transformation of capitalism”

Is a new “cultural revolution” starting in China? For many days in the Celestial Empire, they have been discussing the article “Everyone can feel that a deep transformation is taking place” – about the new course of Xi Jinping .Here is the most striking quote from it:

“If we continue to have to rely on big capitalists as the main force in the fight against imperialism and hegemonism, or we continue to cooperate with the American industry of ‘mass entertainment’, our youth will lose their strong and courageous energy, and we will suffer the same collapse. like the Soviet Union, even before we get a real attack. “

The publication appeared on WeChat on August 28 on the personal blog of Li Guangman. He is a little-known journalist and former editor-in-chief of a small newspaper. But in the following days, the text was reprinted by various state media, including the People’s Daily and the Xinhua News Agency. That is, the theses of Guanman’s article received the highest support – and everyone began to perceive them as a signal of the upcoming radical transformations. Moreover, the article appeared 55 years after the beginning of the “great proletarian cultural revolution” – a turmoil that lasted for several years, during which Mao, relying on the extreme left, dealt a terrible blow not only to the Chinese nomenclature, but also to the entire way of life of educated Chinese.

And is there another storm of communist heights ahead?

Of course not. No matter how frightened the Chinese liberal Westernizers may be. No matter what they think up in the West. There can be no return to the practice of the “cultural revolution”. Nobody is going to curtail the reforms initiated by Deng Xiaoping in 1978, and the market economy is not going to be canceled. China’s goal remains to build a “society of common prosperity” by 2049, that is, by the centenary of the founding of the PRC.

But China is not going to give up the leading role of the Communist Party either – as well as the assertions that it is socialism with Chinese characteristics that is being built. The same Xi Jinping said at the celebration of the centenary of the CCP in July that “we must continue to promote the Sinification of Marxism, persistently combine the basic principles of Marxism with the concrete reality of China and with the excellent traditional culture of China.” 

But if socialism is Chinese, then the market economy, that is, capitalist, must also be Chinese. That is, a kind, national and consistent with Chinese values. It is precisely its change that Xi Jinping is engaged in. That is why the article of the blogger Guanman received such a resonance. What does Guanman write about? The fact that everything that has been happening in China in recent months is not separate events. It is part of a larger plan, which he calls “the deepest transformation” carried out by Xi Jinping.

Regulation of a very large IT businesses

First, Beijing tightened regulation of a very large IT business. Then restrictions were introduced on the activities of tutors (a huge market in China). And also access of schoolchildren to video games (no more than three hours a week). Now hands have reached show business – fines and bans on performances have been introduced for some stars. 

Moreover, at first there were warnings, and the main measures against the “cultural figures” were taken just after the publication of Li Guangman’s article – which, of course, added to the conspiracy theorists the confidence that the text about deep transformation appeared for a reason. Already on September 2, the management of the television and radio broadcasting announced a new strategy – limiting television programs and reality shows that cultivate youth idols. It is clear which ones, because at the same time we are talking about the need to establish the correct standards of beauty and expel “effeminate men.” 

Show business was offered to “deliberately abandon vulgarity, bad taste. And also to deliberately rebuff the decadent ideas of worshiping money, hedonism and extreme individualism. “Moreover, all the measures of the Chinese authorities have not only a market, but also a completely understandable moral dimension. Moreover, they are caused precisely by concern for the moral and ethical health of the nation. The financial costs are deeply secondary here. Because health, especially moral, cannot be bought. And then you cannot re-educate young people brought up on someone else’s matrix. And Xi Jinping is deliberately taking tough measures.

Li Guangman explains it as follows:

“This is a return from a group of capital to the masses of people and the transformation of a capital-oriented model into a model oriented towards the people. Thus, this is a political change, and the people again become the main organ of this change. Those who will prevent this change from being implemented in the direction of the people will be discarded.

This is also a return to the original intentions of the CCP. A return to the essence of socialism. “Moreover, Guanman promises that soon new rules of the game will come to the real estate and medical services sector. There the authorities intend to fight unnecessarily high prices. As a result, people will benefit from the reform of the education, medical and property sectors. It will lead to “shared prosperity.” The path to it lies through the reduction of social inequality. And it has become enormous in China.

“The capital market will no longer be a haven for capitalists who can get rich overnight. The cultural market will no longer be a paradise for sissy stars. News and public opinion will no longer worship Western culture. Therefore, we need control all cultural chaos and build a vibrant, healthy, courageous, strong and people-centered culture. “

Yes, this is the goal that Xi Jinping sets for himself. Chinese society over the past decades has gone through serious Westernization, the cult of consumerism and pleasure. The new CCP policy will not suffer defeat. Because with all the profound changes, with all the contradictions and problems, the majority of the Chinese still retained a sense of national unity and solidarity. And an understanding of justice.

Correction will be difficult and painful

The correction will be very difficult and painful. However, the CCP has another ally in this struggle. This is Chinese patriotism, and it is really massive. It is no coincidence that Guangman explaining the necessity and inevitability of a “deep transformation”. At present, China is facing an increasingly harsh and complex international situation. The United States is carrying out military threats against the country. It is conducting an economic and technological blockade, inflicting financial blows and conducting a political and diplomatic siege of China.

In addition, the United States. launched a biological and cyber war against us, attacks on public opinion in China. “That is, the “profound transformations” taking place in China in themselves are needed in order to “respond to the brutal and ferocious attacks of the United States. As well as to the current difficult international situation,” explains Guangman. 

The Chinese understand this very well – a weak and weak-willed China will become a victim of external expansion. As it was already in the 19th century. Hence the most important warning of Guangman: If China, in its confrontation with the West, relies on its capitalists and educates young people on global mass culture, then the fate of the USSR awaits it.

Resisting external challenges

It will collapse even before it is attacked. Indeed, such civilizing powers as China and Russia cannot be defeated from the outside. They can only be undermined from within. Split, take advantage of their internal mistakes, internal weakness, make them manageable. Take the future away from them, bring up new generations to be weak and devoid of national character, add opium, real or ideological. China understands this very well – including from the experience of Russia, which has already paid a terrible price for the collapse of the country. And both powers will do everything to ensure that their internal order meets the interests of the peoples and their civilizational code. That is, it is resistant to any external challenges.

Russia, China & India – Working together in Afghanistan

By Pranay Sharma

While world leaders debate whether or not to engage with the Taliban-led leadership in Afghanistan and how, Russia seeks to reassure its longtime partner India that New Delhi’s perspective matters.

Just recently Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. To assess the situation in Afghanistan. The leaders agreed to create a joint group of representatives of the foreign policy departments and the national security sphere.

Russia appears to be in no hurry to recognize the Taliban *. Moscow will share its assessment of the situation with New Delhi as soon as it is held.

The capture of Kabul by the Taliban opened the way for Russia and China to expand their influence in South and Central Asia. Both countries, as well as Qatar, which maintains good relations with Taliban political leaders, have not closed their embassies in the Afghan capital, while the United States and its allies, as well as India, hastily seek to evacuate their staff.

New Delhi’s influence on the Taliban is small, given India’s deep suspicions of an Islamist group, which it accuses of harboring militants who carried out attacks in Kashmir, which it controls, with the encouragement of the country’s nemesis, Pakistan.

Earlier this month, Russia convened an “enlarged three” meeting in Doha with the US, China and Pakistan to discuss the future of Afghanistan, but India was not invited.

The Taliban owe nobody for their victory

“Everyone is rushing about right now, trying to figure out how to protect their interests,” says PS Raghavan, former chairman of India’s National Security Advisory Council. However, according to him, it is not easier for Moscow and Beijing to deal with the Taliban. Although both countries supported the US withdrawal, he adds, “The Taliban owe neither China nor Russia for their victory.”

Indeed, while China has offered to help rebuild Afghanistan, it is concerned that extremism will spread to Xinjiang, the country’s northernmost province. On Wednesday, Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping held a telephone conversation to discuss the security situation. Xi told Putin that Beijing is willing to work with other countries, including Russia, to push all parties in Afghanistan to create an inclusive political structure cut off from terrorist groups.

Dmitry Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, believes that Russia views China and India as its two main strategic partners. India and Russia define their ties as a “special and privileged strategic partnership” and meet regularly to engage in trade, energy, science, technology and culture.

However, Indian observers also point to Moscow’s warmer relations with Beijing as a source of concern for New Delhi. Last year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov characterized the Quadripartite Security Dialogue (Quad), which includes the US, India, Australia and Japan, as “anti-Chinese” and called it an American ploy to shield New Delhi from Moscow’s influence. Then Indian observers noted that he was silent about the threat that China poses to India, because these countries are involved in a border dispute.

In the modern world, there is no exclusivity in relations

“In the modern world, there is no exclusivity in relations. We can talk about Russia and China, and they will talk about India and the United States, ”says Raghavan, who served as ambassador to Russia in 2014-2016. India, he adds, will have to control bilateral relations in such a way that they do not affect the core interests of other relations.

New Delhi’s concerns about Moscow’s commitment to their partnership increased when Russia took part in a large-scale joint military exercise with China in the Ningxia region earlier this month, using Su-30SM fighters, motorized rifle formations and air defense systems.

This move has caused bewilderment in Delhi, and not only because Moscow is the main supplier of military equipment for India and provides 55% of its military needs. The joint exercises took place against the backdrop of a year-long military clash between China and India in Ladakh.

Deependra Singh Hooda, a retired lieutenant general and former chief of the Indian Army’s Northern Command, said the joint exercise was “intended for the United States, not India.” In his opinion, fears that China will learn about India’s military equipment are unfounded, since most of the equipment supplied by Russia is the same for both sides. “It is wrong to feel oppressed by such teachings,” added Huda.

Moscow tried to facilitate dialogue between Dely and Beijing

Kanwal Sibal, a former Indian foreign secretary who served as Indian ambassador to Moscow from 2004-2007, says Russia has been supplying advanced military equipment to China for many years and has also conducted military exercises with Pakistan. Joint exercises are also conducted within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s security group, in addition, Russia has conducted naval exercises with China in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. As noted by Sibal, Russia also conducts annual military exercises with India. “There is no reason to be particularly worried about these joint military exercises,” he adds.

According to the head of the Carnegie Trenin Moscow Center, Moscow also tried to facilitate dialogue between Delhi and Beijing last year, but the Ladakh dispute is a sovereign issue between the two countries. “Russia will never unite with China against India, it is a completely reliable partner of India,” he said.

According to former national security adviser Raghavan, a guaranteed supply of spare parts for military equipment is better than joint exercises. When China wanted Russia to suspend supplies to India during a border clash, he said, Moscow calmly signaled that it would continue its supplies.

Unlike the Cold War era, Trenin says, India-Russia relations are not exclusive, as India has moved closer to the United States in recent years, which sees Russia as a rival and imposes sanctions on it. India took part in joint naval exercises with the United States as part of the Quad, he said, and while Russia may not like it, it did not question New Delhi’s right to choose partners. “In the changing geopolitical and strategic environment of the 21st century, Moscow and Delhi need to learn to develop their valuable strategic partnership in a non-exclusive manner,” Trenin said.

Most of India’s military equipment is of Russian origin

According to the Washington-based Stimson Center, 86 percent of India’s military equipment, weapons and platforms are of Russian origin, from aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines to tanks deployed in Ladakh. The Su-30MKI fighter, the backbone of the Indian Air Force, is also of Russian origin, while the Indian supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, capable of carrying a nuclear charge, was developed with Russia.

The US is also supplying India with military equipment, such as Apache and Chinook helicopters and M777 howitzers deployed in Ladakh, as well as Boeing C-17 and C-130J aircraft, which provide the Indian Air Force with strategic airlift capability. The US-made P81 anti-submarine aircraft is also popular with the Indian Navy.

According to the Stockholm Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India was the second largest arms importer in the world in 2015-2019. Although New Delhi has diversified its defense sources, making Israel and France the main suppliers as well, Russia remains at the top of the list.

According to the SIPRI database, since 2014, Russia has sold $ 9.3 billion worth of defense materials, and the United States received $ 2.3 billion for similar goods over the same period. Since 2000, deliveries from Russia have accounted for more than two-thirds of India’s total $ 51 billion defense imports.

According to Trenin, Russia does not have a monopoly on the sale of military equipment to India, and New Delhi has been diversifying its defense imports for many years. “However, a defense relationship is a matter of mutual trust, like treating a friend you can trust in times of crisis,” he said.

I thought Italy would be next to leave the EU… But…

Now I’m convinced it will be Hungary because it looks like Brexit all over again

Paul A. Nuttall is a historian, author and a former politician. He was a Member of the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019 and was a prominent campaigner for Brexit.I believe Viktor Orban could be readying his country for ‘Huxit’. If he is not, then he is playing a high-stakes game of poker with the overlords in Brussels.


Earlier this week, Hungarian newspaper Magyar Nemzet (Hungarian Nation) ran a headline saying, “it is time to talk about Huxit.” This is a huge development because the newspaper is considered to be the unofficial mouthpiece of Orban’s government. Till then it looked like Italy would be the next to leave EU.   

Last month, the newspaper announced that “the time has come, now in July 2021, to seriously consider the possibility of our withdrawal from a union of states with a thousand bleeding wounds, showing imperial symptoms, and treating the eastern and central European countries incredibly arrogantly.

The newspaper also stated that there is a culture clash between Western and Eastern European values, something I argued on RT.com last month. Similarly, Magyar Nemzetopined that “our paths have diverged as the West now consciously… breaks from Christian morality and values. Instead, they aim to build a cosmopolitan, faceless world society based on the unbridled self-enjoyment and self-destruction of the individual… we Hungarians, Poles and central and eastern European people hold on to our cultural and religious foundations.”

Reading this came like a welcome dose of déjà vu to an old Brexiteer like myself. All the way back in November 2010, the Daily Express, became the first mainstream British newspaper to come out in favour of the UK leaving the European Union.

The Daily Express announced that “from this day forth our energies will be directed to furthering the cause of those who believe Britain is Better Off Out.” And continued, “after far too many years as the victims of Brussels larceny, bullying, over-regulation and all-round interference, the time has come for the British people to win back their country and restore legitimacy and accountability to their political process.”

To put the importance of this announcement into some perspective, this was the first time that a mainstream British newspaper had come out in favour of withdrawal from Europe since the 1975 referendum. Suddenly, being in favour of what later became known as Brexit was not the preserve of “cranks and political gadflies,” as one Conservative Party leader called us, and instead became a mainstream idea. In fact, the brave decision taken by the Daily Express was one of the most important events on the long and rocky road to 2016’s Brexit.   

 And now we have history repeating itself in Hungary. It surely cannot be a coincidence that a mainstream Hungarian newspaper is now questioning its country’s membership of the bloc, especially one with links to the government. I would argue that this has come straight from the Brexit playbook.

And it seems as if Brussels is waking up to fact that Hungary is seriously considering making a dash for the exit door. Yesterday, it was announced that the European Commission had missed the deadline to impose financial penalties on Hungary for not complying with the bloc’s“values.”  This will undoubtedly trigger an inter-institutional conflict in Brussels, as the European Parliament has demanded that Orban’s Hungary be punished. The dispute may well end up in the European Court of Justice (ECJ), as the European Parliament is determined to punish Hungary for its stance regarding LGBTQ rights.   

However, the fact that the European Commission, which is not bound by public opinion like the European Parliament, is not prepared to invoke sanctions against Hungary is most informative. Whereas the EU was all too eager to recently punish Poland, maybe because it was confident that its government would back down, it seems to be treating Hungary with kid gloves. Maybe the penny has finally dropped in Brussels, and they have realised that to impose financial sanctions would play right into Orban’s hands.   

It could be argued that Orban is playing a high-risk game – but that is only the case if he really wants to stay in the EU – and I am not convinced that he does. I suspect that Orban is carefully dipping his toe in the Huxit bath. If he finds the water agreeable, he may well plunge right in, which could spark a crisis in the EU even worse than Brexit. You see, the UK was never really a comfortable member of the EU. It was a reluctant partner, but never a friend, which made divorce at some point an inevitability. 

Hungary, however, is much different, as it is client state of Brussels bean-counters. It is a net benefactor of EU funds, and unlike the UK, which handed over cash to Brussels as if it were confetti, it is in receipt of millions of euros every year. But in the end, Hungary may decide that money isn’t everything, and traditional values are more important. And if this does happen, I wouldn’t bet against other Eastern European states following suit, as they grow increasingly uncomfortable with the West’s dictatorial liberalism.