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Conveyed our concerns to India on 'Quad' on multiple occasions: Russian Ambassador

Russian Ambassador said Moscow was "concerned and apprehensive" over the Indo-Pacific strategy of the US as it has completely ignored existence of Russia and China while pushing forward its agenda for the strategically key region. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had also criticised the US-led Indo-Pacific initiative , calling it a "divisive approach."

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Last Updated: Jan 17, 2020, 07.55 PM IST
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Russian Ambassador Nikolai Kudashev (File Pic)
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NEW DELHI: Russia on Friday said it has conveyed to India on multiple occasions its concerns over the US-backed Quadrilateral coalition for the Indo-Pacific and held that introduction of competitive structures will create friction among the countries of the region.

Russian Ambassador Nikolai Kudashev said Moscow was "concerned and apprehensive" over the Indo-Pacific strategy of the US as it has completely ignored existence of Russia and China while pushing forward its agenda for the strategically key region.

Kudashev's comments at a press conference came two days after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov strongly criticised the US-led Indo-Pacific initiative, calling it a "divisive approach" to disrupt existing regional structures and contain China.

"I would say quite frankly that we expressed to India time and again our concerns about the American strategy, our concerns about the Quad. As far as I understand, our concerns were taken into consideration and our dialogue on these issues (with India) is continuing," said the Russian Ambassador.

In November 2017, India, the US, Australia and Japan gave shape to the long-pending "Quad" coalition to work closely in the Indo-Pacific region. The move was seen as an attempt to contain China's growing influence in the region.

"We need to deepen our mutual understanding of the events evolving in the Pacific ocean and Indian Ocean... Why should we introduce some competitive structure to divide the countries of the region rather than bringing them together," the Russian envoy said.

Last September, the four countries held talks at the foreign ministerial level, signalling "significant elevation" of the cooperation. The US, Japan and Australia have also been pressing for a greater role by India in the Indo-Pacific region.

In an address at the Raisina Dialogue on Wednesday, Lavrov called the Indo-Pacific strategy of the US as "divisive".

"We are concerned and apprehensive. We are not in favour of the western design and western concept of Indo-Pacific strategy. They want to negate the dialogue culture in the region. They ignored the existence of Russia and China though Russia has one of longest shores facing the Pacific," said Kudashev.

He said India's strategy is not to contain anybody and to deny anybody opportunity in the Pacific Ocean.

Asked about India being part of the US-backed 'Quad', Kudashev said: "I cannot speak for India... I am not in a position to interfere in India's foreign policy. We never mix India and the US. India is our special privileged strategic partner. This is the difference."

The Indo-Pacific has been a major focus area of India's foreign policy in the last few years and its strategy is pushing based on bringing peace and stability of the region.

Last month, Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh said the Quad does not have a military role at the moment.

There has been concern in India over China's fast expanding military and economic clout in the Indo-Pacific.

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