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 Monday, February 19 2024 19:02
Marianna Mkrtchyan

Caucasus` role and importance for Indian foreign policy in  transformation process from regional power to world power is  increasing - opinion

Caucasus` role and importance for Indian foreign policy in  transformation process from regional power to world power is  increasing - opinion

ArmInfo.The role and importance of the Caucasus for Indian foreign policy in the process of transformation from a regional power to a world power is increasing.  Russian political scientist Sergei Markedonov shares a  similar opinion.  

The expert noted that today Eurasian geopolitics in general, and Caucasian geopolitics in particular, are described, as a rule, in the form of remakes of the "Great Game" or the "Cold War."  According to him, meanwhile, along with Russia and the West, there are other actors whose interests are difficult to identify with the approaches of Moscow, Washington or Brussels.

"We see the influence of Israeli-Iranian and Iranian-Turkish  contradictions on the dynamics of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict,  as well as intra-religious (identitarian) trends in Azerbaijan, we  are following with interest the expansion of cooperation between  Georgia and the People's Republic of China, as well as the promotion  of the "One Belt One Road" project in Transcaucasia. Along with  "Westernization", the "Easternization" of the region is also taking  place. And in this context, it is extremely important not to forget  about the Indian factor. Moreover, Delhi's foreign policy ambitions  are growing.  According to Distinguished Indian   Fellow  Sanjaya  Baru, his country is transforming from a regional into a world power.  And in the course of this transformation, the role and importance of  the Caucasus for Indian foreign policy is increasing," Markedonov  believes.

At the same time, the expert wonders what India is looking for in  Transcaucasia? According to him, it has already become a truism to  talk about foreign policy trends as a continuation of domestic  political ones.  "But the point is that interest in one country and  one region in the international arena can continue in another one.  For many years, Pakistan was not just the main, but a constitutive  threat to India's security.  Therefore, the rivalry between Delhi and  Islamabad has its echoes in the Caucasus as well. According to Indian  diplomat and expert Achal Malhotra , " Azerbaijan's closeness to  Pakistan, on whose behalf Azerbaijan has repeatedly promoted the  Pakistani position on Kashmir, is a constant irritant for India," he  noted.

Markedonov added that, of course, Delhi is also closely monitoring  the position of Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who over the  past few years has become an active defender of the "rights of  Kashmiri Muslims."

"As a result, a wary attitude towards the formation and strengthening  of the geopolitical triangle of Azerbaijan-Turkey-Pakistan. In many  ways, the strengthening of interaction between Ankara, Baku and  Islamabad after the "second Karabakh war" contributed to the increase  in cooperation between Delhi and Yerevan.

Say at once: India has never declared recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh  and has not challenged Azerbaijani sovereignty over it. This is  especially emphasized by almost all Indian authors. However, today  India has become one of the main military-technical partners of  Armenia. According to estimates given by Jason Wahlang, and Sergey  Melkonyan, "the total volume of arms and military equipment contracts  [between Delhi and Yerevan] is about $2 billion with a wide range."  Here are the roots of the Armenia-India-Iran trilateral format (the  first political consultations at the level of deputy foreign  ministers of these countries took place in April 2023)," the Russian  expert noted.

However, he said, it would be wrong to portray India as an  exclusively pro-Armenian force. The expert urged not to forget that  Azerbaijan remains Delhi's largest trading partner in the Caucasus  (the Indian side exports goods worth $79.4 million to the Caspian  republic, and imports $595 million from it, which significantly  exceeds the figures for Georgia and Armenia).

"At the same time, Indian interests are not built with Russia against  the West, nor with the West against Russia. Delhi has a significant  interest in the North-South corridor. And here a connection arises  with the Russia and Iran, which greatly frightens the  Euro-Atlanticists. At the same time currently, India is increasing  cooperation with France (seeing it as a counterbalance to Turkish  ambitions within NATO and in the Mediterranean) and is ready to  involve Armenia in this very peculiar "Eurasian format".

The international agenda is becoming more complex. And the Caucasus  does not remain aloof from these trends. Multipolarity opens up new  opportunities and chances. But problems also will arise (and are  already arising) with them, requiring a balanced and careful  assessment," Markedonov concluded. 

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