In a truly contemporary analysis of Moscow's relations with its neighbors and other strategic international actors, Gvosdev and Marsh use a comprehensive vectors approach, dividing the world into eight geographic zones. Each vector chapter looks at the dynamics of key bilateral relationships while highlighting major topical issues—oil and energy, defense policy, economic policy, the role of international institutions, and the impact of major interest groups or influencers—demonstrating that Russia formulates multiple, sometimes contrasting, foreign policies. Providing rich historical context as well as exposure to the scholarly literature, the authors offer an incisive look at how and why Russia partners with some states while it counter-balances others.
Chapter 9: Call Across the Himalayas: The South Asia Vector
Call Across the Himalayas: The South Asia Vector
South Asia has long been linked to the Russian lands through trade and commerce. Coins from the Indian subcontinent have been discovered in archeological excavations, and it is likely that merchants from India and Rus’ interacted in the bazaars of the cities along the Caspian Sea.
In the 15th century, Afanasy Nikitin, a merchant of the Russian city of Tver,’ attempted to develop a north–south trading route that would link Russia to South Asia. Nikitin's journey, however, undertaken between 1466 and 1472, was not successful as a commercial enterprise.1 In turn, an Indian merchant named Husein arrived in Moscow in 1532 as the envoy of Babur, the founder of the Moghul ...