Vol 16, No 4 (2016): Iran and India in the System of International Relations


India and the BRICS: Global Bandwagoning and Regional Balancing

Stephen M.D.


Indian policy makers have welcomed India’s framing as a ‘rising power’ and celebrated the BRICS initiative as a common front in reforming aspects of global governance. Yet China’s rise in Asia has unsettled the balances of power which have underpinned the region, as a consequence of which India has hesitantly pursued a strategic rapprochement with the United States. Assessing New Delhi’s multilateral and geo-strategic diplomacy, this article argues that India bandwagons with the BRICS on a global level, but seeks to balance China at the regional level. On the global multilateral level, India has common cause with other rising powers in reforming the policies and structures of most international organizations. The exceptions are the United Nations Security Council and the Non-proliferation Treaty, where China and Russia can be qualified as established powers. On the regional level, however, India has maintained ties to Russia and cultivated a strong relationship with the United States in an effort to balance and increase leverage relative to a rising China. This underlines that major power rivalries are strongly mediated by issue area and institutional context.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2016;16(4):595-602
pages 595-602 views

India and The Arab World

Lounev S.I.


The article shows that Indian-Arab relations are very complex and are affected by many positive and negative factors. From a political point of view, the Middle East does not rank high in the priorities of India’s modern foreign policy. In the bipolar period, India tried to strengthen ties with all developing countries with the aim of becoming a leader of the South. In this respect, the region (especially Egypt in the 1950-1970s) played a special role. Now India pays attention mainly to vital actors. Policy of non-interference in regional conflicts is typical for India. Delhi has focused on the developing of ties with the countries of the Persian Gulf, due mainly to economic reasons that are of primary importance to India. This subregion is a major supplier of hydrocarbons to India, that is extremely vital for further rapid economic growth of the country (oil and gas account for about a third of India’s imports). In addition to this, millions of Indian citizens live in the Persian Gulf, and India (due to them) has become the world leader by the volume of migrant remittances. The largest semi-peripheral countries, among which India should be mentioned particularly, began to play a special role in the new world system. However, the politics of balancing is characteristic for India both on global level as well as on regional one. But a real great power (and the desire to obtain such high status was always the main goal for an Asian giant) should demonstrate a clear vision of global and regional issues, play an active role and offer its own solution of different conflicts and contradictions.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2016;16(4):603-615
pages 603-615 views

The foreign policy of Iran in the Middle East and the American strategy of “system containment”

Krasnov K.G., Yurtaev V.I.


In article features of forming and implementation of foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) in the Middle East (Iraq, the Syria-Lebanese-Palestinian zone, Egypt, Gulf States and Yemen) in the conditions of transformation of forms and methods of implementation of Washington’s strategy of “system containment” of the IRI are analyzed. Special attention is paid to identification of potential of IRI as one of leaders of the Middle East region. The main stages, the directions and implementation methods of strategy of “system containment” of the IRI as triangle complex of political, economic and military measures, performed by the USA and their allies for rendering multilateral pressure upon Tehran in order to change its foreign policy and the State power in the country, are shown. Change of a foreign policy line and approaches of Tehran to the solution of regional problems is considered in the context of escalation of pressure upon Iran from the USA and the states of the West. It is analyzed what forms and methods of the foreign policy and foreign economic activity implementation were used by Iran in the situation of increased political and economic risks, connected with toughening of the international and unilateral sanctions. In the conclusion, efficiency evaluations of Middle Eastern dimension of the Iranian foreign policy during the considered period are given and the tendencies of development of the situation around the IRI, that allow us to make the forecast for the medium term, are allocated.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2016;16(4):616-627
pages 616-627 views

Russian-Iranian relations in the Caspian Region: results and prospects

Zhiltcov S.S.


The collapse of the USSR affected the Russian-Iranian relations, governed by bilateral agreements during several centuries. The emergence of “new” independent states in the region, such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, changed the geopolitical situation and put a question of the legal status of the Caspian Sea. Russian-Persian and Soviet-Iranian agreements had a centuries-old tradition but they did not draw up a legal status of the Caspian Sea or clarify the procedures of subsursafe management. Those agreements governed only laid down rules of navigation and fishery, without touching the issues of oil and gas field exploration, production and transportation, including pipelines on the floor of the Caspian Sea. It did not fit political and economic interests of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and stimulate them to unilateral actions. Russia and Iran in turn insisted on saving the former rules and agreements. The absence of Convention on legal status of the Caspian Sea introduced uncertainty in the principles of oil and gas development and export, pushing Caspian countries toward making unilateral decisions. Russia and Iran kept close positions, insisting on following the former agreements. The other Caspian countries did not support that position and adopted a policy aimed at division of the Caspian Sea and asserting a certain control over its hydrocarbons. Close Russian and Iranian positions on legal status of the Caspian Sea became a strong deterrent for Caspian countries to let them divide the sea into national sectors and launch pipeline plans on the floor of the Caspian Sea. As the result Russian and Iranian relations had stabilizing effect in the Caspian region. At the same time, the Russian Federation aimed at following a flexible policy, taking into account the interests of the other Caspian countries. The settlement of the legal status of the Caspian Sea with Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan let Russia improve the relations with its neighbors but was not approved by Iran. Russian-Iranian relations were influenced by a profound effect of some western states, that imposed sanctions against Iran. Moreover, the fact that Iran was neglected when the export hydrocarbons routes were discussed and realized let new Caspian countries strengthen its positions. At the turn of 2015-2016 уears Russian-Iranian relations are on the rise, because of bilateral interest in solving regional issues and developing trade and credit agreements. Prospects of Russian-Iranian further cooperation will be determined by some key factors. There are Iranian energy policy, results of further multilateral negotiations on legal status of the Caspian Sea and the level of hydrocarbons production in “new” Caspian countries, that can strongly influence their international policies. All these factors will affect the further Russian-Iranian relations, because these two countries remain core players in the Caspian region.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2016;16(4):628-642
pages 628-642 views

The East-Asian vector of the Indian external policy: priorities in the South-East Asia

Galistcheva N.V.


The aim of this research is the analysis of the key direction of the East-Asian vector of the Indian external economic policy in 1990-2000s - its ties with the South-East Asian countries. The article highlights the main direction of the Indian government’s policy in the region - trade cooperation. The author examines the composition of the Indian exports to the South-East Asian countries and imports from this region as well as the main trade partners. The article also presents statistical data on the Grubel-Lloyd Index which measures India and the ASEAN-countries intra-industry trade of five main import and export products. The article also highlights the current bilateral investment interaction. It is noted that the investment cooperation between India and the South-East Asian countries is characterized by significantly higher activity of Indian investors. As a whole it helps accelerating bilateral economic relations. The author notes the mechanism of the Indian assistance to the South-East Asian countries and points out that providing assistance India wins markets for their products as well as favorable conditions for its companies to penetrate the South-East Asian region which ultimately stimulates the growth of bilateral trade. The author stresses that the Indian policy of providing assistance aims at consolidating its economic positions in the region as well as at spreading its geopolitical influence. The article presents statistical data characterizing the present state of the Indian external economic ties with this region.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2016;16(4):643-653
pages 643-653 views

India-Africa: trade, investments and humanitarian projects

Suleymanov A.V.


Active growth of trade volume between India and Africa which has increased in twenty times since the beginning of the twenty-first century or in seventy times since 1991, certainly actualized a question of features of the modern Indo-African relations. In this regard the purpose of article is consideration of features of policy of India to the African countries. The author does the short historical review of the Indo-African relations, and considers key spheres of realization of modern regional strategy of India on the African continent - humanitarian projects, foreign trade and investments. The main methods of research are the comparative-historical approach and the statistical analysis, being used for identification of positive or negative dynamics of development of the Indo-African cooperation. Now the African region takes strategic significance for India. Rapid economic development of the African countries and increase in a standard of living of the population turn the continent into a perspective sales market of the Indian goods and services. Besides, India actively develops humanitarian projects and renders the financial help to many African countries. However, India faces set of problems and factors - geographical remoteness, the discrimination and racism, instability of political systems of many African countries and the African policy of China. The active economic policy of China on the African continent has compelled India to develop cooperation with the countries of Africa more actively. In recent years India also as well as China tries to make active and modernize the economic and humanitarian policy in Africa. Struggle for commodity markets of the goods and services in Africa makes Africa by strategic region not only in the Indo-Chinese relations, but in foreign policy of India as a whole.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2016;16(4):654-664
pages 654-664 views

Iran’s potential in fighting international terrorism

Jabari N.H.


Islamic Republic of Iran as a regional country with international capacities can be influential globally. The country’s geopolitical, energetic, cultural and ideological dimensions construct a notable potential for it in the international system. Today, considering the outbreak of religious salafist-takfiri fundamentalism in the Middle East with subsequent outspread of extremism and terrorism across the globe stretching from Asia, Africa, and Europe to America, Iran with its mentioned potentials can enhance its position in world politics through curbing terrorism and firmly fighting against it. In the present article the author analyzes the factors that construct Iran’s anti-terrorist capacity and its influence on the place of this country in modern world politics. He introduces the legal basis of activities of Iran in fight against terrorism, strategic vision of this country in this area. The main directions and formats of contemporary Iran’s counterterrorism cooperation is analyzed. The author expresses an opinion that Iran’s active and effective fight against international terrorism can reduce the expenses of counterterrorism measures in global scale and impair the potential of terrorist groups. This factor will also lead to the strengthening of Iran’s position in the system of international relations, to transformation of its role and rethink of Islamic Republic’s place in contemporary world politics.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2016;16(4):665-676
pages 665-676 views

An overview of contemporary Russian-Iranian relations

Filin N.A., Ravandi-Fadai L.M., Burova A.N.


In post-Soviet period Russia and Iran have experienced quite a few sharp turns in bilateral relations. Periods of active dialogue alternated with long pauses, signing of multibillion-dollar contracts was replaced by the prosecution of both parties in default of its obligations and commitments. Geopolitical interests in this case take precedence over economic ones. The article describes the role of the Iranian issue in Russian-US relations, both within the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission and concerning Iranian nuclear program. The question of the legal status of the Caspian Sea also affects bilateral relations. However, there are a number of objective factors that bring together country. Among them is a need to combat ethnic separatism as well as shock economic reforms started almost simultaneously in Russia and Iran in the early 1990s and led to an increase in social tension. Both countries are interested in maintaining peace and stability in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, Caucasus and Afghanistan. In July 2005, Iran received observer status at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). With the return to the post of Russian president Vladimir Putin in 2012, there has been improvement in Russian-Iranian relations. There has been a number of positive trends in trade and economic relations, implementation of joint economic projects.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2016;16(4):677-687
pages 677-687 views

India’s strategic interests in South Asia and its aid to Bangladesh

Nemova A.A.


Providing foreign aid to developing countries is one of the most important aspects of contemporary foreign politics. The article studies relations between India and Bangladesh from the perspective of foreign aid flows and discovers conditions, forms, mechanisms, and trends of India’s aid to Bangladesh from 1971 until today. The research uses the approach of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) towards foreign aid and understands it as financial assistance, technical assistance, as well as aid in goods in the form of grants and soft loans with the aim to provide economic development and well-being. The author analyzes factors of the geopolitical significance of Bangladesh for India and studies India’s aid to Bangladesh in the context of the history of bilateral relations between the two countries. As a result, a certain correlation is discovered between aid flows and the state of bilateral relations. China’s growing interest is seen as one of additional factors, which cause India to increase volumes of its aid to the neighboring countries, including Bangladesh. China and India are understood as emerging donors who are competing to increase their influence in the world. The two Asian giants have recently taken considerable aid commitments to Bangladesh which indicates that Bangladesh starts to play a more important role in the regional geopolitics. In this context, the article predicts a further growth in the volumes of Indian aid to Bangladesh in the future and concludes that India uses its foreign aid programs as a tool to promote its own economic, political, and strategic interests. Foreign aid, including official development assistance (ODA), is becoming a means of India’s economic diplomacy although some researchers point to the fact that the country’s policymakers still lack coordination to make aid efficient in terms of political gains.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2016;16(4):688-699
pages 688-699 views

Potential role of the NDB and AIIB in the global financial system

Larionova M.V., Shelepov A.V.


This article focuses on the two recently established multilateral development banks (MDBs) dominated by emerging economies: Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and New Development Bank (NDB). The authors explore the main economic and political incentives that lie behind the creation of these institutions, examine challenges and opportunities they are likely to face, and provide a forecast of their loan portfolios growth in the coming years. The forecast includes two scenarios: basic and optimistic, and is based on the analysis of NDB and AIIB differences from traditional banks, and potential benefits and challenges they can bring. The methodology used for assessment allows projecting the financial capacity of the two banks based on their announced shareholder capital and likely financial performance determined by membership, governance arrangements and other factors, and takes into account recent developments in both banks. Based on the forecast, the authors conclude that in ten years the new banks will be able to provide infrastructure financing at the level of traditional institutions working in the area. In order to develop in accordance with the optimistic scenario, the new banks should adhere to their basic alternative principles, but also rely on the experience of traditional banks in areas where they have proved their effectiveness. These include exchange of experience on selection of projects, social and environmental safeguards, and monitoring results. Apart from addressing the global infrastructure gap, the new banks could also stimulate traditional ones to reform their governance and change operational modalities and thus become more responsive to developing countries’ interests.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2016;16(4):700-716
pages 700-716 views

India: Glance from Russia. Interview with professor A.G. Volodin (E.M. Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences)

Shikin V.V.


A. Volodin is also the head of the Center of Eurasian researches at Institute of actual international problems of Diplomatic Academy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Area of scientific interests: India and the Southern Asia in global politics, globalization, regional security, integration and development in Central Eurasia. Interview with Dr. Volodin, the leading Russian orientalist specializing in Indian studies and expert in international affairs and foreign policy, covers three issues: India’s place and role in modern politics and international affairs, the prospects of Indo-Russian relations, and the current developments in Russian academic studies on India as well as acute goal of studying India by Russian researchers. Dr. Volodin highlights Indian foreign policy focusing on the principles that Delhi follows in its political decision-making and shaping relations with the United States, China, and Russia. The interviewee believes that India is highly interested in cooperation with Russia and eager to participate in the projects implemented by the nations involved into Eurasian integration. He emphasizes that Indian studies in Russia should contribute more to the state’s strategic planning.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2016;16(4):717-725
pages 717-725 views

The “Arabian Axis” in Kuwait Crisis: background and process of formation

Rodriguez-Fernandez A.M.


The formation of the «Arabian Axis» in the number of state coalition opposing the aggression of Saddam Hussein in Kuwait (1990-1991) is regarded in the article. Research methodology is based on the principles of four types of scientific knowledge: general scientific, historical, socio-scientific and problematic. The historical method, which is fundamental for the author, was used as a basis research approach to the phenomena formation and development, as well as the organic coherence of these facts and the conditions causing them. In the frame of this article author analyzes the causes, conditions of formation of “anti-Iraqi triangle” of Saudi Arabia - Egypt - Syria. The author concludes that the three members of the “Arab Axis” had many reasons to fear a dominant role and aggression of Iraq. In particular, in Syria S. Hussein confronted H. Assad, and Assad’s participation in the anti-Saddam coalition was completely predictable. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak believed that the interests of his country will be threatened if Iraq starts to dominate the Middle East arena. Saddam Hussein was also potentially dangerous for the Saudi kingdom, because he considered himself the winner in the war with Iran.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2016;16(4):726-735
pages 726-735 views

India’s Role in the Emergence of Bangladesh as an independent state

Drong A.


This paper aims to describe the role of India, the biggest neighbor of Bangladesh, and the outmost support of the Soviet Union in the emergence of Bangladesh as an Independent State. The paper describes the background of the Bangladesh’s Liberation war in 1971. The political situation in East Pakistan just before the crisis is described in details, especially the results of general elections which were held in December 1970. A central part of the article is dedicated to the role of India and the contribution of Indian people, government and armed forces. Almost 10 million men and women were forced to leave Bangladesh and entered various states of India like West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh where they were accommodated as refugees. The personal implication of Indira Gandhi was very high, she traveled around the world to gather support for the Bangladesh cause. India spent thousand of rupees for the liberation war of Bangladesh; but also sacrificed the lives of its officers and soldiers. Moreover, the paper touches upon the USSR’s involvement into the Liberation war of Bangladesh in context of Soviet-American rivalry during cold war.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2016;16(4):736-744
pages 736-744 views

Russian geological education in the world market (the case of Russian State Geological Prospecting University)

Lisov V.I.


Higher geological education in Russia and in MSGPI-RSGPU specific. It - engineering. The mineral deposits determine the development of the global industry and foreign trade. Growing global demand for the profession of geologists and mining engineers. Training of foreign students in Russia has its own geopolitical and economic importance. In Russia a strong resource-based economy. It attracts students from developing countries. MGRI-RSGPU is the leading universities training specialists for mining. The article presents data about the University and types of education. Shown scientific and educational problems in higher education. This article discusses the prospects for the promotion of Russian higher geological education at the world market of educational services. The increasing role of new scientific and technological achievements in mining, enhanced environmental as well as staff requirements is revealed. Given that the leading schools in the mining industry, in addition to Russia, are formed in Canada, Germany, USA, Australia, Great Britain, many developing countries rich in natural resources, have begun to form their own national centers for training in this area. Under such competitive conditions Russian geological education maintains its own niche. Recognition of this is the active participation of Russian universities in the creation and development of the World Forum of sustainable development of mineral universities (WFURS), described in the article. The main factors of competitiveness that led to leading positions of Russian State Geological Prospecting University in system of the Russian geological education are described. Particular attention is paid to the international activities of Russian higher educational institutions including Geological Prospecting University. The basic statistics (both in the context of the country, and in the field) of foreign undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at this university is provided. The article highlights the main problems and prospects of integration of the Russian geological education in the world market of educational services.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2016;16(4):745-754
pages 745-754 views

Historiography of the relations between Russia and the Arab world (Yemen, Syria, Tunisia)

Shishkina A.R., Fedotova V.A.


The article is devoted to the study of modern Russian Middle Eastern academic literature devoted to the relationship between the Soviet Union and Russia as its legal successor on the one hand and such Arab countries as Yemen, Syria, and Tunisia, on the other. These are quite important countries of the Middle East and North Africa, attention to which of the Russian Middle East policy changed over time. Diplomatic ties as well as cooperation in trade-economic sphere and the historical and cultural ties are analyzed in literature. The author notes that cooperation with the countries of the Middle East and North Africa was an important part of the foreign policy of the Soviet Union, but after the collapse the attention to some partner countries in the region has weakened. At the end of the XX century. Yemen, Syria and Tunisia falled out of the focus of Russia’s Middle East policy, this period witnessed a significant weakening of attention to the studied countries and, therefore, there is a rather scarce historiography on this subject. On the basis of the literature the article identifies the main areas of potential research of relations between countries under analysis as well as some issues that have received insufficient coverage. This study may contribute to the identification of opportunities for further cooperation and potential socio-political risks.

Vestnik RUDN. International Relations. 2016;16(4):755-767
pages 755-767 views

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