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Russia and India recently agreed to jointly manufacture a military transport plane. In an e-mail interview, Seema Desai, a London-based analyst in Eurasia Group’s Asia practice, discusses India-Russia defense relations. WPR: Historically, what kind of defense relationship have India and Russia shared? Seema Desai: India and Russia have traditionally shared a very strong defense relationship, with past purchases including fighter aircraft, missiles, submarines, and aircraft carriers, in addition to other equipment such as radars and tanks. Although India still buys the bulk of its military hardware from Russia (around 60 percent), Russia is a less-dominant player than it has been […]

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During Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s three-day visit to China, the two countries announced the opening of a pipeline that will triple the supply of Russian oil flowing China beginning next year, and they touted closer regional security cooperation. They also extended the terms of an agreement for supplying Russian natural gas to China, but failed to agree on a price for the gas.

According to virtually all global warming projections, humanity faces significantly more conflict in the decades ahead as we fight over dwindling resources in climate-stressed lands. However, those reports typically overlook one likely outcome that could counterbalance the more negative impacts of global warming — that of northern territories becoming significantly milder, more accessible, and, most intriguingly, more hospitable to immigration. This is the essential good news to be found in Laurence C. Smith’s fascinating new book, “The World in 2050.” The ambitious title is perhaps a bit misleading, for where Smith really delivers is on the subtitle: “Four Forces Shaping […]

A great deal of ink has been spilled on the domestic trajectory of the “Tea Party” movement, which is demonstrating its growing clout within the ranks of the Republican party and could end up playing a decisive factor in the 2010 midterm congressional elections. But less attention has been given to the foreign policy implications of the Tea Party’s possible ascendancy. Even if the Republicans take back control of both houses of Congress this fall, the Tea Party is unlikely to play a major role in shaping U.S. foreign policy. However, its perspective will shape popular perception, and its counsel […]

Critics of the New START treaty charge that, if ratified, it would constrain U.S. missile defense plans. Whether or not the treaty’s non-binding preamble supports their argument, the broader question regarding the future of missile defense is an important one. Missile defenses bolster deterrence and strengthen the security of U.S. allies, giving them a significant role to play in a fluid and dynamic contemporary security environment. But regardless of the New START treaty, the Obama administration will have to limit U.S. missile defense plans if it wishes to remain credibly committed to future arms reduction agreements with Russia, as well […]

When Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov meets with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at the Pentagon tomorrow, they will have a lot to discuss. Although Serdyukov has been defense minister since 2007, this will be his first official visit to the Pentagon. That’s primarily because he has focused his attention back home, implementing the most comprehensive reform of the Russian military in almost a century. Indeed, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell noted last week that Gates and Serdyukov “are both taking on very bold, very ambitious reform initiatives within their respective militaries, and I think they want to talk about […]

Agence France Presse reported last week that Russia signed a five-year military cooperation agreement with Israel. Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov announced the agreement, which includes joint defense education and medical training, on Sept. 6, after meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Barak, in Moscow. Fifty Russian crewmembers are already in Israel training to operate the 36 drones Moscow that ordered after its 2008 war with Georgia, and the Russians are now proposing a joint production line to manufacture Israeli-designed UAVs in Russia. The defense agreement comes just weeks after former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens wrote an op-ed in […]

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Armenia agreed to extend Russia’s lease of a military base in the city of Gyumri until 2044. In an e-mail interview,Kim Iskyan, a director in the Russia and Eurasia practice at Eurasia Group, discusses Russia-Armenia defense relations. WPR: What has historically been Russia and Armenia’s defense relationship? Kim Iskyan: Russia and Armenia have long shared a close relationship, with defense as a critical dimension. Upon the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, there were Soviet bases in all three countries of the Caucasus, but Azerbaijan and Georgia subsequently engineered the departure of the Russian military presence. Armenia, though, wanted […]

At the beginning of July, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus signed a number of protocols establishing a customs union between the three countries. The union, scheduled to be fully operational in January 2012, will create a single common market of about 170 million people and represents the latest of several attempts by Moscow to create an effective trade bloc with its newly independent neighbors since the break-up of the Soviet Union. In addition to the economic ties maintained through the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Russia first committed to a union with Belarus in 1994. That was followed […]