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India has smart approach in Indo-Pacific amid US efforts to contain China: Sergey Lavrov

Pulling up the US over its strategic concept of the Indo-Pacific, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday said it was initiated to disrupt the existing structure and contain China but added that friend India has adopted a smart strategy on this.

Addressing a packed gathering at the Raisina Dialogue, India’s annual foreign policy event organised by ministry of external affairs (MEA) and the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), he also said that an equitable democratic order should not be influenced by use of brutal force.

Lavrov also backed India and Brazil to be absolute candidates for permanent members of the UN Security Council. He also hinted at a member from Africa in UNSC but left out Japan, another key contender.

The new Indo-Pacific concept being pushed by the US and others is an attempt to reconfigure the existing structure, he said.

“Why do you need to call Asian Pacific as Indo-Pacific? The answer is evident—to exclude China. Terminology should be unifying, not divisive. Neither SCO nor BRICS is exclusionary,” Lavrov said.

“When we asked the initiators how Indo-Pacific is different from Asia Pacific, we were told it is more democratic. We don’t think so. It is rather tricky. We have to be careful about the terminology which looks benign but is not,” he said.

The Indo-Pacific has been a major focus area of India’s foreign policy in the last few years and the country pushing for the peace and stability of the region. However India’s Indo-Pacific vision includes China and stretches from Eastern Africa to Pacific region.

Lavrov said the ‘Indo-Pacific’ was attempt to move from an Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) centered consensus building model. But he was quick to add that Russia appreciates ASEAN and India’s position that the Indo-Pacific strategy is inclusive and not meant to contain any country.

Lavrov also said the western countries, especially the US, have failed to address issues at the G-7 and hence the need was felt to create G-20.

Source: Economic Times