Taliban's advance in Afghanistan and India-Russia ties
Taliban has recently claimed that it now controls over 80% of the territory in Afghanistan. It has not only rattled the Afghan government but raised concerns across Asia.
Worried at these reports, Russia has said that it is prepared to activate its military base in Tajikistan against the advancing Taliban.
Meanwhile, the Indian External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar, is on a strategically crucial visit to Russia. In Moscow, while speaking at the prestigious 'Institute of World Economy and International Relations', Dr. Jaishankar pitched for the revival of the India-Russia-Iran axis in support of the Afghan government. This axis had existed in the 1990s and had backed Ahmed Shah Masood of Northern Alliance, the precursor of the modern-day Afghan regime. Later, in 2001, Masood successfully defeated the Taliban.
At the same time, during the meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Dr. Jaishankar raised the aspect of Taliban's legitimacy to rule as they reportedly move towards the take over of Afghanistan. India and Russia have common interests in this country and also about China's entry into the geopolitical scene here. These shared goals could reflect in Afghanistan in the times to come after this visit.
Meanwhile, Iran was also a part of Dr. Jaishankar's two-nation visit. Iran's ideological opposition to the Taliban is noteworthy, and this country too shares interests with Russia and India in Afghanistan.
Apart from the Taliban, during the External Affairs Minister's Russia tour, the two grand-old friends held productive talks on their existing broad-ranging cooperation in the fields of space, nuclear energy and defence. The two leaders also discussed India's Kudankulam atomic power plant project. Here, Russia is assisting in building six units of nuclear reactors. Each of these could produce 1,000 MW of power. Russia has steadfastly pledged support to the 'Make-in-India' initiative in several sectors.
Besides, India and Russia will be holding an exclusive 2+2 Dialogue between their defence and foreign ministers later this year. The two leaders also discussed the details of the same.
Before beginning his Russia tour, Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar had said that the relationship between India and Russia has been among the steadiest in the world. These words highlight the common goals India and Russia have shared over all these years. In the time to come, India-Russia grand-old friendship will hold the key to several issues plaguing the world at large and Asia in particular.