Russia happened to be bang in the middle of a 12-day celebration commemorating the arrival of Jesus Christ when the Indian and Pakistani armies got into a tangle in Kashmir. Some sixty years ago, a Soviet leader had exhorted that if ever such a thing happened in Kashmir, all New Delhi needed to do was to give a shout across the Wakhan Corridor and the Kremlin would hear.
But it seems unlikely that anyone from South Block raised his voice. Also, geography has changed, and assuming someone from South Block did, it is improbable that the voice would carry its vibrancy through the Central Asian steppes which are in hibernation in the thickness of winter.
Moscow has had nothing to say about the incidents on the Line of Control. Whereas, until very recently, it always expressed an opinion whenever peace got affected. Can it be that peace in South Asia is no longer in Russia’s interests?
India’s other BRICS partner China has commented
. This is despite China being Pakistan’s ‘all-weather friend’. What prompted China? Of course, China isn’t a country of Orthodox Christians and there is no Christmas to celebrate there. But the crux of the matter is that China is a big stakeholder in the security and stability of South Asia.
To be sure, it has an old, solid friendship with Pakistan, but then, it also is working hard to develop a dynamic partnership with India and China and India increasingly take note that they could have more in common in the contemporary world situation than what separates them.
Maybe, in the Russian perception, the violence on the LOC isn’t related to cross-border terrorism? Maybe, as an old grandmaster, it is brooding about the AfPak chessboard in the post-2014 regional security setting and that becomes its all-consuming passion? After all, Hamid Karzai has arrived in the Oval Office to meet Barack Obama. Time will tell.
Meanwhile, the best spin one could give is that there have been some confidential exchanges between the leaderships in Moscow and New Delhi on the LOC tensions on the sidelines of the BRICS NSAs’ meet yesterday, which of course aren’t in the realm of public domain. At any rate, South Asia being Russia’s biggest single market for arms exports
, the security and stability of this region would affect Moscow’s vital interests.