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Friendship with India, China to be Russia's priority

By Vinay Shukla in Moscow
July 15, 2008 21:17 IST
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Identifying development of friendly ties with India and China as the "most important direction" of its foreign policy in Asia, Russia on Tuesday said it will further consolidate dialogue with these countries in a trilateral format as an element of the multi-polar world order.

In Russia's Foreign Policy Concept released by the Kremlin, President Dmitry Medvedev underscored that the development of friendship with India and China will be a priority of the country's foreign policy in Asia.

He identified the development of the friendly relations with the two countries as the "most important direction" of the Russian foreign policy in Asia.

"By deepening its strategic partnership with India, Russia pursues its principle course of strengthening interaction on topical international problems and augmentation of mutually beneficial bilateral ties in all the spheres, specially in ensuring substantial growth in the sphere of trade and economy," Medvedev's foreign policy concept notes.

Under the Russian Constitution, the foreign policy is set by the president.

"Russia shares India and China's interest in an effective political and economic interaction in trilateral format of Russia-India-China," Kremlin's new foreign policy doctrine says.

It has also identified a special role for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in the regional integration and partnership. Set up as a military confidence-building organisation along former Sino-Soviet border, SCO has been transformed into a regional cooperation organisation of which India is an observer nation to which both Russia and China have pledged to give greater role.

Russia says that it attaches great importance to improving the steering of the world development and creation of a self-regulatory international system.

"This demands a collective leadership of the leading states of the world, representative from the geographical and civilisational point of view and acting in full respect for the central and coordinating role of the UNO," Medvedev's foreign policy doctrine says, adding that to achieve this goal Moscow will intensify efforts with its traditional partners -- India and China in trilateral and quadrilateral -- BRIC formats.

Although in its new foreign policy Moscow has called for 'rational reformation' of the UN to bring it in accordance with the present day changing political and economic realities of the world in a 'planned manner', it has also sought retaining of the status of the five veto wielding powers in the Security Council and admitting of new members on the basis of 'widest consensus'.

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Vinay Shukla in Moscow
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