Virtual meeting of RIC foreign ministers was held amid rising tensions in the disputed Ladakh region between India and China. Originally planned for March 2020 but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was conducted as Russia’s initiative to mark the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II, which resulted in the formation of the UN. The grouping has a high dependence on Russia’s close diplomatic ties with both India and China. While the Russian side maintained that it would not mediate between India and China, it also reiterated its support to India’s bid for permanent membership in the UNSC.
The USA-Russia relations received another blow on May 21, 2020, when US President Donald Trump announced that the US will be pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty (OST), a major arms control measure that aided transparency and confidence-building among 34 countries, especially between the US and Russia. The pulling out from OST by US was next in line after withdrawal from Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force (INF) treaty last year by the US. Though it seems to be caused by increasing distrust between the two countries on the face of it, it is in line with the transactional approach of diplomacy by President Trump.
Russia has been a time-tested partner of India for a long time now. Relationship with Russia is a key pillar of India’s foreign policy. The bilateral ties, in recent times, have suffered minor drawbacks due to India’s inclination towards the West and Russia’s growing relationship with China. Despite these differences, India-Russia ties remain strong. It can be seen through PM Modi’s visit to Vladivostok to participate in the 20th India-Russia annual summit and the 5th Eastern Economic Forum. Mr. Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the Russian Far East and this visit is intended to give “a new direction, new energy, and new speed” to the bilateral relations.
The United States President Donald Trump has recently announced that US will unilaterally pull out of 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty which was signed by the US and Russia during Cold War era for banning all ground-launch nuclear missiles with the range between 500 and 5500 km. However, US accuses Russia to have developed a new medium-range missile and it has also been concerned about China which is not a signatory to the INF treaty, producing medium-range missiles.