India's diplomatic dilemma between the West and Russia with key strategic partners on both sides
- The Indian PM appealed for an “immediate cessation of violence” to the Russian President amid the Russian attack on Ukraine
- He has called for concerted efforts from all sides to return to the path of diplomatic negotiations and dialogue.
- The differences between Russia and the NATO group can only be resolved through honest and sincere dialogue according to him
Dilemma for India
- India is in a diplomatic dilemma with key strategic partners on both sides.
- India expressed “regret” ,an upgrade from expressing “concern”
- But it stopped short of condemnation of Russia’s attack on Ukraine
- This is a test for New Delhi to make a strategic choice with pressure piling from the western bloc led by the US
- There are principles and values on one side and pragmatism and interests on the other side.
Statement at UNSC
- India at the UN Security Council called for urgent de-escalation of tensions
- It emphasised on sustained and focused diplomacy to address all issues concerning the situation
- India had not condemned Russia’s statement of recognition of the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk
- The West views this as condoning Russia’s actions and as double standards given that India raises the issue of “territorial integrity and sovereignty” when it comes to China
Relations with Russia and associated significance
- India has a historical relationship with Russia spanning seven decades.
- While the relationship has stagnated in some areas and atrophied in others, its strongest pillar is of the defence basket.
- India has diversified its new purchases from other countries
- But almost 60-70% of its military supplies are from Russia.
- It does not want to jeopardise the close military ties with Russia even after there is concern about its “muscle-flexing”
- India can’t afford to alienate Russia particularly when Indian and Chinese troops remain in a border stand-off.
- Russia has emerged as a key diplomatic player amid the tension.
- India’s External Affairs and Defence ministers have met their Chinese counterparts in Russia in the last year and half.
- Russia is also key to India’s engagements in Afghanistan.
Relations with West
- India’s ties with the West led by the US are crucial as well.
- Many American platforms have been used for reconnaissance and surveillance along the India-China border.
- Winter clothing for 50,000 troops has been sourced from these western strategic partners.
- Russia-China axis is also a concern for India
- Its purchase of the S-400 air defence system from Russia is aimed at preventing attacks from China and Pakistan.
- The hostility between the West and Russia is likely to push Moscow further in the direction of Beijing
Indians in Ukraine
- The Indian community in Ukraine mostly medical students is another concern for India
- As per government estimates, about 16,000 Indian nationals are still in Ukraine only about 4,000 students have been able to leave in the last few weeks.
- The government is trying to help many of them leave through land borders in neighbouring countries like Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovak Republic.
- In such a critical situation India needs to revive the spirit of Non Aligned movement and such bilateral issues between countries should be resolved by continuous and sincere dialogue among all the stakeholders.