India is interested in buying a stake in “Belaruskali”
The Indian government has expressed its intention to invest in “Belaruskali” and waits for response from Belarus. The Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of India to Belarus Manoj Bharti said at a press conference, “Proposal of the Indian government has already been submitted and we are waiting for the Belarusian reaction”.
The Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of India to Belarus Manoj Bharti said at a press conference, “Proposal of the Indian government has already been submitted and we are waiting for the Belarusian reaction”.
India is the largest buyer of Belarusian fertilizers. Accordingly, the sale of shares to the buyer is not in the interests of the seller. For the Belarusian authorities it is important to show that bargaining for the enterprise continues. However prospects of selling it to non-Russian investors are vague, bearing in mind that “Sberbank” of Russia has taken as collateral for the $ 2 billion loan of 30% of the shares thereby having indirect control over the privatization of the enterprise. The annual foreign currency earnings of “Belaruskali” are about USD 2 billion, moreover it needs to attract new loans therefore neither “Belaruskali” nor the National Bank will not be able to return the loan to the Russian “Sberbank”. Respectively, the privatization of “Belaruskali” (albeit delayed) will be solely for the benefit of Russia. Russia estimated assets of “Belaruskali” at USD 10-15 billion, while Lukashenko at USD 30 billion. Sooner or later (2012-2013), both parties will reach a compromise.
Over the past year, military-political relations between Minsk and Kyiv have become complicated. Due to their high inertia and peculiarities, this downward trend would be extremely difficult to overcome.
The root cause of the crisis is the absence of a common political agenda in the Belarusian-Ukrainian relations. Minsk is looking for a market for Belarusian exports in Ukraine and offers its services as a negotiation platform for the settlement of the Russo-Ukrainian war, thereby hoping to avoid political issues in the dialogue with Kiev. Meanwhile, Ukraine is hoping for political support from Minsk in the confrontation with Moscow. In addition, Ukraine’s integration with NATO presupposes her common position with the Alliance in relation to Belarus. The NATO leadership regards the Belarusian Armed Forces as an integral part of the Russian military machine in the western strategic front (the Baltic states and Poland). In addition, the ongoing military reform in Ukraine envisages a reduction in the number of generals and the domestic political struggle makes some Ukrainian top military leaders targets in politically motivated attacks.
Hence, the criticism of Belarus coming from Ukrainian military leadership is dictated primarily by internal and external political considerations, as well as by the need to protect the interests of generals, and only then by facts.
For instance, initially, the Ukrainian military leadership made statements about 100,000 Russian servicemen allegedly taking part in the Russo-Belarusian military drill West-2017. Then the exercises were labelled quazi-open and military observers from Ukraine refused to provide their assessment, which caused a negative reaction in Minsk. Further, without citing specific facts, it was stated that Russia was building up its military presence in Belarus.
Apparently, the Belarusian and Ukrainian Defence Ministries have entangled in a confrontational spiral (on the level of rhetoric). Moreover, only a small part of the overly hidden process has been disclosed. That said, third states are very likely to take advantage of the situation (or have already done so). This is not only about Russia.
The Belarusian Defence Ministry officials are restrained in assessing their Ukrainian counterparts. However, such a restraint is not enough. Current military-political relations between Belarus and Ukraine are unlikely to stabilise without the intervention of both presidents.