"I am 100 per cent convinced that India has enough very smart diplomats and politicians to find a way which will allow it to benefit from this process and at the same time not to sacrifice your position," Lavrov said while answering a query on India joining mega Chinese connectivity One Belt One Road or Belt and Road Initiative. The visiting Minister was answering a set of queries after delivering maiden Alexander Kadakin lecture organised by Delhi-based premier think-tank Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF).
When asked about possibility by Moscow joining China Pakistan Economic Corridor, the flagship project of OBOR, Lavrov noted, "Russia has its own corridors and has large territory for such corridors and connectivity initiatives."
The comments by Lavrov on CPEC reflects that Moscow has different view on segments of the project.
Talking at length on OBOR the visiting Minister said Russia feels the concept is very interesting and needed to be explored in the context of building harmonious relationship for deeper regional trade and investment. Lavrov said almost all the central Asian countries have already signed documents with China for cooperation in the OBOR while Russia and other members of the Eurasian Economic Union concluded economic cooperation agreement with it.
Lavrov was in Delhi to participate at the 15th edition of the Russian-India-China trilateral meet.
India has opposed the OBOR due to its sovereignty concerns over CPEC which passes through PoK. Besides, India had also expressed reservation over financing model of OBOR that has increased debt burden for recipient countries and end goal of OBOR. Referring to the RIC deliberations, Lavrov said that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj "suggested" improving not only India-China ties but also India's relations with Pakistan.
While Lavrov lauded India's independent foreign policy approach in an indirect reference to the quadrilateral, he said, "We believe that sustainable security architecture in the Asia Pacific region cannot be achieved through bloc arrangement and is only possible through an open ended collective basis."
The Russian Foreign Minister also talked about the need for peaceful settlement of the disputes saying use of force and threatening to use force will not resolve any issue. Calling India a key partner for Russia, he said further strengthening of ties between the two countries can address numerous problems in the Asia Pacific region.
Kadakin, Russia's former Ambassador to India, died in harness on Jan 26 this year and was a batchmate of Lavrov in the erstwhile foreign service of Soviet Union and subsequently Russia. Considered best India hand in the recent times among the Russian officials Kadakin also a road named after him in Delhi which Lavrov visited on Monday.