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US-Russia dialogue on Europe’s security can open gigantic geopolitical opportunity

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Russian cooperation with the U.S will open a whole gigantic geopolitical opportunity allowing both of them to address the issue of China and enable the U.S to have a more focused role in the Indo-Pacific and help Russia have a safe European border, opined PS Raghavan, India’s former envoy to Moscow and ex-Chairman National Security Advisory Board.

Both countries’ constant efforts to have concrete solutions like Biden-Putin phone calls and a discussion on the current issues make room for diplomacy and negotiations to help reverse this ongoing crisis, according to Raghavan. He was speaking on Tuesday at a public session titled, “War clouds over Ukraine: What They Portend for Global Geopolitics” organised by India’s leading public policy body Ananta Aspen Centre. The session was moderated by Prof C Rajamohan, Visiting Research Professor, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore.

“The current situation is all about European Security Architecture. Still, the dialogue is between the U.S and Russia, causing a real complication by not considering the rest of the (Stakeholders) European countries. Also, issues related to the Minsk Agreement need to be addressed, as it has become a critical factor in discussions aimed at resolving the long-simmering conflict in eastern Ukraine. These are the key issues that have to be addressed in the coming times,” Raghavan said, adding, “The problem is not the deal, but the terms and conditions of the agreement matter because of the multiple interests of the involved actors. So the discussion and negotiation should be in such a way that will satisfy all the stakeholders.”

This crisis has opened avenues to re-examine the Social, economic, security and geopolitical order in Europe. It will need a process to address these issues, according to Raghavan. “The popular belief that Europe had transcended into the next century where dramatic geopolitical crises did not exist has come crumbling down. The situation today in Europe is Surreal and is not a recent phenomena, but has developed over time.”

The June 2021 meeting between Biden and Putin has been a step forward by America in treating Russia as an equal, unlike Biden’s predecessors who remarked Russia as a regional power or a gas station turned into a country.

“The Dialogues between Russia and USA have been about mutual reassurance. Economic growth will play a major role in Russia’s development. With Ukraine, Putin is trying to see how far it can go and what he can achieve. The major question is ‘What does Europe Want?”

Implementation of the Minsk Agreement would not be easy. It would require a federal structure. Multiple interests and history play a role in deciding the solution to the crises and any future developments, Raghavan pointed out.

The USA needs a stable and predictable relationship with Europe in order for it to focus on the Indo- Pacific. Equilibrium in Europe gives the US more time to focus on the Indo-Pacific. The Ukraine crisis can act as a distraction from the issue of China and would allow it to enhance its threats to Taiwan. China would like to see as much distance between the U.S and Russia, as it will provide China with freedom of maneuver.

India will have a new arrangement with Europe, Russia and USA that would work in its favor. India will have to keep up its balancing act between the great powers. For that, there is a need for some equilibrium between the involved actors in the Ukraine crisis, which will allow us to focus more on China and Taiwan issues.

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