NSAs of India-Russia holds crucial meet on the sidelines of SCO summit

On 23-24 June, a 16th meeting of the National Security Advisors of the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was held in the capital of Tajikistan, Dushanbe. SCO is a Eurasian political, economic and security platform created in the year 2001. China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan are its members.

NSA Ajit Doval represented India at the meet. Like so many others, it was another success for him. As part of the SCO framework, he urged the organization members to ready an action plan against Pakistan-based terror outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. It was a major embarrassment for terror state Pakistan, which could do nothing but just hear. However, the crucial part of his engagement came on the sidelines of the summit when Ajit Doval met the NSA of Russia Nikolai Patrushev.

The two leaders reportedly held a two and half-hour-long meeting, the length of which was unprecedented. Nikolai Patrushev is said to have briefed Ajit Doval in detail about the Biden-Putin Geneva Summit. India favours a dialogue between the two adversaries that will help move towards the normalization of their ties. Also, the Russian NSA is understood to have told his Indian counterpart that Moscow will protect its national interest but do nothing that goes against New Delhi.

The two leaders also discussed the ongoing withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and its security implications for the regions of the Indian Subcontinent and also Central Asia. For India, the Subcontinent is its natural sphere of influence, while the same is the case with Russia regarding Central Asia. Several aspects related to the Afghan War viz., the rise of the Taliban, the backing they receive from Pakistan and the presence of radical forces in the AfPak region are also believed to have discussed as per media reports.

The discussions also featured China, wherein Ajit Doval apparently apprised Nikolai Patrushev about the current situation at the Line of Actual Control with China in East Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh.

India and Russia have shared interests, and their cooperation holds bilateral, regional and global significance. Considering this and the sensitivity of issues discussed, it again shows the deep-rooted trust the two grand-old friends enjoy.