Why Russia and India matter to each other

With the focus of public attention on the foreign policy front over the last year or so having been on India’s relations with the United States, it is easy to miss the significance of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit this week.

Yet, it is anything but a routine one.

For the first time ever, a Russian head of State has been invited as chief guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations, the most prestigious and visible event on India’s diplomatic calendar, one whose significance goes beyond State-to-State diplomacy.

The public exposure that the chief guest and the country he represents get is an integral part of the importance and significance of the visit. It sends a powerful message not only to the country being honoured and to the rest of the world, but, equally importantly, to the people of India.

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