S Jaishankar
S Jaishankar
File Pic

Moscow: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that in the last 40 years the world has changed, but what has been constant is actually the relationship between India and Russia.

Jaishankar, who arrived here on Tuesday on a two-day visit finalise the preparations for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's forthcoming visit to Russia, said that "I first came here almost to the date exactly 40 years ago and in 40 years lot of things have changed, the world has changed, Russia and India have changed."

Jaishankar was posted in the Indian mission in Russia from 1979 to 1981. "I would say relatively speaking, a constant in these 40 years have actually been our relationship (India-Russia). If you look 40 years ago at the big relationships that characterised international relations... India-Russia has remained a much more stable factor in the international relations than almost any other significant relationship of our era," he added.

Delivering a speech at the discussion platform of the Valdai Discussion Club on 'The prospects of India's policy in the Indo-Pacific region' on Tuesday, Jaishankar said India's economic interest has shifted towards the Pacific, so the policies that started from 'Look East' to 'Act East' have matured into 'Indo-Pacific'.

He said that the changing world had thrown up new concepts and approaches and the Indo-Pacific was one of them.

"We are actually moving significantly out of the world of alliances to a world of convergence...But countries who find common cause on particular issues have an interest in working together and the Indo-Pacific is a concept that has grown out of this era of convergence," he said during the discussion.

"In our neighbourhood we have a policy 'neighbourhood first' which is a non-reciprocal policy of prioritising co-operation in our immediate neighbour, we have a policy towards the ASEAN which was called 'Look East', started in 1992, over a period of time it became 'Act East' because it developed aspects of physical connectivity and security. Today, India's economic interest have shifted towards the Pacific, so the policies matured into 'Indo-Pacific'," he added.

India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's rising military manoeuvring in the region.

China has been trying to expand its military presence in the Indo-Pacific, which is a biogeographic region, comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the sea. This is Jaishankar's first visit to Moscow since assuming office in May. His visit comes days ahead of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok from September 4 to 6 where Prime Minister Modi will be the chief guest.

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