The Guardian 25 October, 2006
India, Russia, China cooperation
"The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) countries are going to be the new powerhouse of the world. It is in India’s enlightened interest that we understand its importance as we are a country which desperately needs energy", CPI (M) General Secretary Prakash Karat says in a statement this month. "Trilateral co-operation between India, China and Russia has symbolic significance as it can dispel the notion that the 21st century is an American century."
The recent meeting between India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chinese Premier Hu Jintao and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-8 summit held tremendous potential in the changing world situation. Karat was delivering a talk on the "Role of friendship societies in Indo-Russian relations".
Karat said the 21st century was not going to be an American century. "This will be an Asian century. Two countries, India and China, are to power Asia through their economic growth and political clout. Though a unipolar world appeared to emerge after the fall of the Soviet Union, current trends hint at a transition towards a multi-polar world which would be more balanced and equitable and with less scope for hegemony", Karat said.
Besides Asia, new power centres were developing in Europe, Latin America and Africa much to the "dismay" of United States.
Emerging co-operation among India, Brazil and South Africa, which are important countries in the developing world, would [also] promote multi-polarity in the world.
Stating that energy was going to be a major issue in the 21st century, he said Russia’s energy diplomacy had signalled that it would be assertive in the new situation.
The six-member SCO comprising Russia, China and central Asian republics, would have an increasing role in world affairs.
Karat urged the Indian Government to understand the importance of the SCO in which India, along with Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, were observers.
"If the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline became a reality, the country would get gas at one-quarter of its price in the international market. Russia was now co-operating with Iran, and India should use its ties with Russia to play an increasing role in central Asia", Karat said.
He said the present world situation underlined the need to maintain, nurture and strengthen India’s ties with Russia. In the earlier period of the Soviet Union, India had been greatly influenced by the first socialist experiment.
"Promotion of people-to-people relations was also important while developing strategic relations with countries like China and Russia and developing nations", Karat said.
Press Trust of India