Priya Sridhar ’07, South Asia correspondent for RT, the 24-hour Russian television news channel previously known as Russia Today, recently scored a coup – an interview with Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh.
The prime minister, who rarely grants interviews, spoke with New Delhi-based Sridhar prior to his trip to Russia for the 12th annual summit meeting with the leadership of the Russian Federation.
Excerpt from the interview:
Priya Sridhar/RT: Russia and India obviously share concerns on peace and stability in this neighbourhood and the consequences of the 10-year war on terror. Do you think the region would be a safer or a more dangerous place once the United States pulls out of Afghanistan?
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh: It is very difficult to envisage what will happen once the ISAF forces withdraw from Afghanistan. That they should withdraw is a decision that can be taken only by the Afghan Government and the Afghan people. But it is also true that if Afghanistan is left to fend for itself both militarily and in dealing with its economic challenges, I think there would be an added uncertainty. Russia and India are both neighbours of Afghanistan. We have great stake in peace, in orderly progress and prosperity of the Afghan people. And we have been I think exchanging notes between our two countries. That is an area where we need to intensify our cooperation in the years to come, particularly if the withdrawal of ISAF forces takes place as planned by 2014.