NEW DELHI: Russia on Monday pitched for India joining China's One Belt One Road initiative and hoped that New Delhi will find a way out to benefit from the mega connectivity project without sacrificing its position on the issues flagged by it. In an address at a think tank, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said a sustainable security architecture in the Asia Pacific region cannot be achieved through "bloc arrangement", in a clear signal of Moscow's opposition to the quadrilateral grouping comprising the US, Japan, India and Australia.
"Russia has its own corridors and has large territory for such corridors and connectivity initiatives," Lavrov said when asked about possibility by Moscow joining China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of OBOR.
The visiting minister was answering a set of queries after delivering maiden Alexander Kadakin lecture organised by the premier think tank Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF). The comments by Lavrov on CPEC reflects that Moscow has different view on segments of the project. Kadakin, Russia's former Ambassador to India, died in harness on January 26 this year and was a batchmate of Lavrov in the erstwhile foreign service of Soviet Union.
Considered best India hand in the recent times among the Russian officials has also a road named after him in Delhi which Lavrov visited on Monday. Lavrov 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.
"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," the foreign minister said.
India has opposed the OBOR due to its sovereignty concerns over CPEC which passes through PoK. Referring to the RIC deliberations, Lavrov said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj "suggested" improving not only India-China ties but also India's relations with Pakistan.