Speakers were unanimous in underlining the relevance and significance of Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation of 1971, at a seminar organized at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture (RCSC) on August 9, 2011.
The seminar titled “Influence of the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation on the Peace and Security in South Asia and the Development of Indo-Russian Relations”, jointly organized by the RCSC, the Unity International Foundation (UIF) and Eurasian Foundation (UF), was to mark the 40th anniversary of the Treaty.
Mr. R. N. Anil, Secretary-General, UIF, who conducted the proceedings of the seminar traced the background of the Foundation which has been closely associating with the activities of the RCSC for decades aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries. He said that it was a momentous occasion to mark a landmark event.
In his introductory address, Dr. Bhisham Narain Singh, President, UIF, former Union Minister and Governor, noted that August 9 assumed special dimension as the day on which Quit India Movement was launched by Mahatma Gandhi in 1942 and the day on which the historic Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation was signed in 1971. While the first led to the Independence of India, the second one gave rise to the liberation of Bangladesh, he added. Describing the Treaty as an all-time “epoch-making document” and the “mother of all treaties”, Dr. Singh referred to the entire gamut of multifaceted relations between India and Russia which remain ideal and unique in international relations. Indo-Russian friendship and cooperation has an impeccable record in world history, and the bilateral relations are irreversible and indisputable, he concluded.
Underscoring the historic significance of the 1971 Indo-Soviet Treaty, Mr. Sergey Karmalito, Senior Counsellor, Embassy of the Russian Federation in India, said that in the historic point of view, the Treaty was mainly a confluence of events as well as a coincidence of perceptions between the two countries which has brought them closer together. In the bilateral dimension, the Treaty was a logical outcome of the relations of sincere friendship, respect, mutual trust and multifaceted ties which had been established between the USSR and India in the course of many years and stood the test of time, he noted. For Russia, strong ties with India are one of the priorities in our foreign policy and deep-rooted popular tradition, he added. We are happy, Mr. Sergey Karmalito noted, that at the turn of the 2nd decade of the 21st century, Russian-Indian relations have reached the highest level of special and privileged strategic partnership, as was reiterated by President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh last December.
In an overall observation of the crucial political scenario emerging in the region during that period, Mr. Ajay Bisaria, Joint Secretary, Eurasia Division, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, pointed out that the 1971 Indo-Soviet Treaty enabled India to stand in good stead with immense confidence to face the challenges that came by. In a distinct phenomenon, both India and Russia stood together to jointly face any problems in the global context posing us, based on a clear perspective of peace and security in the region in particular and the world at large. Notwithstanding the change of governments on either side, the mutual trust and understanding between peoples sustained the multifaceted relations in a highest order taking to new heights. He was emphatic in pointing out with a sense of pride that the 1971 Indo-Soviet Treaty is a genuine facet of Indian diplomacy.
Sharing his personal experience, Mr. V.B. Soni, former Ambassador of India to several countries, said that as a young diplomat in the late sixties and early seventies, he had the rare privilege of witnessing the preparations taking place in Moscow prior to the signing of the landmark 1971 Indo-Soviet Treaty. He referred to the timely unstinting support extended by the then USSR to India’s stand in NAM, Panchsheel, an outcome of Jawaharlal Nehru’s vision. Pointing out that Russian never pressurized India to take a particular stand on internal or domestic issues, he made a clarion call on keeping the same momentum and spirit in the on-going process of dynamic bilateral relations and that in the future.
Hailing the 1971 Indo-Soviet Treaty, Major Darbir Singh, Secretary, All-India Congress Committee, said that it remained a truly historic milestone and a culmination of many thought-processes in the relations between India and Russia. He stressed that the people of India have to salute Russia for the phenomenal and unflinching help and support extended to India during the crises in 1965 and 1971. Recalling his first-hand experience in the Bangladesh war taking part as a young Captain in the Indian Army, he gratefully acknowledged the noteworthy role of the Soviet Union in our great victory. One has to really appreciate the way the resurgent Russia consolidated its position passing through transformation in the wake of the disintegration.
Dwelling at length upon the global political context, Prof. Arun Mohanty, Director, Eurasian Foundation, Professor, School of International Studies, JawaharlalNehruUniversity, pinpointed the decisive foreign policy perception of the erstwhile Soviet Unon immensely favourable to India vis-à-vis the adverse Pak-Chinese and Sino-US stance. He recalled the inspiring initiatives taken by the USSR on the Tashkent Agreement and 1971 Treaty which equipped India with tremendous confidence and fortitude, and added that the signing of the Indo-Russian Agreement on Strategic Partnership in 2000 enabled both sides to consolidate their positions.