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Steady cooperation between India and Russia remains

Information photo: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets with visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin in New Delhi. (5 October 2018)
Information photo: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets with visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin in New Delhi. (5 October 2018)

NEW DELHI — Despite pressure from the West, India has maintained stable relations with Russia. India has refused to condemn its war in Ukraine and Western sanctions against Moscow. However, analysts note that this has not stopped or affected the growth of relations between India and the United States.

During a visit to Moscow last month, Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar Jaishankar said New Delhi would boost economic ties with its Cold War-era allies.

“For us, Russia is a solid, time-tested one, and like I said, our relationship over the centuries will firmly bind our two countries very well,” he said. New

Delhi did not join Western sanctions against Russia, and India abstained in the voting on the UN resolution.

Analysts believe that the Indian military’s heavy reliance on tanks, fighter jets, and other facilities from Moscow prevents it from joining the operation to isolate Moscow, especially when tensions on the India-China border continue.

Harsh Pant, vice president of research and foreign policy at the Observer Research Institute in New Delhi, said: “If your soldiers are confronting China, you cannot also confront a country that has been supplying you with weapons.” India’s defense relationship with Russia presents India with a more practical alternative.

India categorically rejected calls from Western leaders not to buy Russian crude oil and steadily increased Moscow’s oil, coal, and other supplies. From less than one percent before the war, Russia has become a major oil supplier to New Delhi by the end of this year. Indian officials say it is in the country’s interest to buy oil from Moscow, and India will continue to buy it as it has in the past.

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India also sent a delegation to participate in large-scale military exercises jointly organized by Russia, China, and India in August this year.

Sreeram Sundar Chaolia, director of the Jindal Institute of International Relations, said: “The transactional aspects of India-Russia relations are important for both countries, such as their energy and defense relationships, and India will make decisions in accordance with the interests of the country.

However, the intensification of the conflict in Ukraine has caused unease in New Delhi. In September, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin at a side of a regional summit in Uzbekistan, “This is not a time for war.” He noted that the world was facing challenges, including food and energy shortages, which particularly affected developing countries.

In a recent call, Modi once again called for resolving differences through diplomacy and dialogue, according to India’s Ministry of External Affairs. It is worth noting that the annual Russian-Indian summit has not been scheduled for this year.

“India feels that Russia is doing a lot of things that may be unreasonable, similar to the kind of citizen strikes and the energy sector,” Pant said. So, what Russia did provoke a negative response. However, he added that India would not publicly condemn Russia because “India feels that there are multiple factors in this conflict, so political dialogue is necessary.”

Some worry that India’s neutral stance with Russia will cost the United States points. It is part of the quad talks between India, the United States, Japan, and Australia and has no sanctions against Russia. Critics say India’s massive purchases of Russian crude could hurt Western sanctions against Russia. But that didn’t happen, because the two countries are also working together to curb China’s expansion.

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U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during a meeting with India’s foreign and defense ministers in New Delhi in April: “Today we see U.S. and Indian forces operating and coordinating closely across all domains and increasingly across the wider Indo-Pacific region.

In September, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking at a joint press conference with his Indian counterpart, called the bilateral relationship between India and the United States “one of the most important in the world.”

Indian and U.S. forces held exercises along the India-China border last month. Although this is a regular annual exercise between the two militaries, the choice of exercise location is very interesting.

“The rise of China is the rise of one of the most powerful militaries of our time, and it certainly strengthens the consensus on cooperation between India and the United States,” Pant said. There is no other option.

He said partnerships are important for both parties. There would be no Indo-Pacific without India, and I think the U.S. recognizes that India is a valuable partner, while India sees Washington as valuable in regional turmoil.

Analysts believe that India wants a negotiated solution to the conflict in Ukraine, noting that he plays a punitive role in the global economy. “India, as a Russian and close partner of the West, wants to be an intermediary,” Chaolia said. Behind-the-scenes dialogue and with it, India hopes to play a useful role in mitigating differences between warring parties and ceasing hostilities. ”

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