When the leader of Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev visited India in 1955 he famously remarked, “We are so near that if ever you call us from the mountain tops we will appear at your side.” This is the spirit that defined Soviet and continue to shape Russian support for India on the Kashmir issue whether at UN or at other for a including bilateral formats.
While Moscow has formed closer partnership Beijing as part of its global strategy to counter USA, the two do not share similar views on the Kashmir issue. China is in favour of internationalising the matter but Russia has consistently favoured a solution under bilateral format. However, this fact often remains underreported and unrecognised in the current discourse of international relations as Khrushchev’s remarks remain buried in the annals of history.
However, Moscow through the decades has not diluted its position for its strategic partner in South Asia. It is no secret that erstwhile Soviet Union had vetoed the number of resolutions on Kashmir in UNSC during the Cold War period and blocked internationalisation of what is essentially a bilateral issue. In the UN Security Council Resolutions in 1957, 1962 and 1971, Russia was the only country that vetoed resolutions seeking UN interventions in Kashmir.
And last August Russia became the first P-5 country to describe India’s move on Kashmir (scrapping Article 370 & bifurcation of the State) as purely an internal matter and called for resolution under the Shimla Agreement of 1972 and Lahore Declaration of 1999. Ever since this position has been reiterated by Russian Foreign Minister and senior officials.
Lat week when second Chinese attempts to internationalise Kashmir issue through UNSC fell flat Russian diplomat Dmitry Polyanskiy tweeted, “UNSC discussed Kashmir in closed consultations. Russia firmly stands for the normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan.
We hope that differences between them will be settled through bilateral efforts based on the 1972 Simla Agreement and the 1999 Lahore Declaration.”