(This was originally posted in Times Now by Srinjoy Chowdhury)
Call it strategic balancing or a scheduling oddity, General Bipin Rawat, the Chief of Defence Staff, will be visiting both Russia and the United States of America in the next few weeks. General Rawat, the seniormost Indian armed forces officer, will be visiting Russia towards the conclusion of Exercise Peaceful Mission, the exercise involving Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) countries in south-western Russia. This is a counter-terror military exercise by the SCO and India is taking part for the first time.
The CDS will meet senior Russian defence officials during the visit. General Rawat will be in Russia, one of India’s closest defence partners along with a senior officer from the Military Operations directorate, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in the US. Almost immediately after returning, the CDS will be visiting the US at the invitation of General Mark Milley, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The visits, important as they are in any case, are an important message, with the Taliban, supported by Pakistan, back in power in Afghanistan and the situation in Ladakh, over a year after the clash between Indian and Chinese troops, still tense, with thousands of well-armed troops facing each other. Both Russia and the United States remain close friends of India and while an army exercise with the Russians is ending, Exercise Malabar, involving the navies of the US, India, Japan and Australia begin in the Bay of Bengal next month.