Time for India to redefine its relationship with Russia:
Russia’s war on Ukraine has decisively shaped international opinion. Indian foreign policy is also going to be affected in a profound manner.
The Western world has imposed unprecedented sanctions against Russia and banned energy imports.
New Delhi is concerned about the impact of these sanctions on global finance, energy supplies, and transportation, amid growing signs that they will constrain India’s ability to import Russian oil.
- Russia’s increasing dependence on China: What must worry India is the fact that Russia will now become increasingly dependent on Chinese support to defend its policies.
- India’s real strategic challenge is surfacing in the Indo-Pacific with the rise of China, as Beijing has consistently sought to expand its zone of military, economic and political influence through the Belt and Road Initiative.
- Though India would like the U.S. to continue to focus on China, it is not possible for Washington to ignore Russia’s aggression along NATO’s periphery.
How India’s ties with Russia changed over time:
- Following the disintegration of the USSR, India joined Russia and China against the unipolarity of the U.S.
- For some time, this common concern about unipolarity put the three countries on the same path towards mutual cooperation and understanding.
- However, it soon became clear that India and China did not see eye to eye.
- Moreover, India was determined to maintain its partnership with Russia, an important arms supplier.
- Its ties with the U.S. have also improved significantly since the end of the Cold War.
- But continuing dependence on Russian weaponry has become India’s strategic headache.
Way forward for India:
- A NATO-Russia Council was formed specifically to alleviate Russia’s concerns, and that Russia was recognised as one of the world’s leading industrial powers through a formal admission into the elite G-7.
- Though Moscow has drifted much closer to Beijing, and is sharply critical of India’s engagement with the U.S. and the Quad, India finds it difficult to extend support to Ukraine.
- It goes without saying that the U.S. is the country most likely to bolster India’s future as a great power.
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