Foreign Policy Note: Playing the Russian Roulette with ease . But how long luck will favour us ?
Disclaimer: This is an independently written article by the author without allegiance to any political party, ideology or government.
Last week Delhi was one of the most respected capitol in the world as dignitaries from around the world kept alighting on the airport terminal tarmac. Among the host of VIPs were two names that stole the limelight. One was the deputy NSA Daleep Singh from the Biden administration of the USA; while the other was Sergei Lavrov, the well built Russian Foreign Minister.
Both had a specific mandate with them i.e. to lure India for once and all towards their respective side. While the Dep NSA took a threatening tone to get his message conveyed, the Russian FM was more smiling, more persuasive and talked to the Media for a good amount of time answering a plethora of questions. (1.http://samanvaya.org.in/trending/foreign-minister-sergey-lavrovs-answers-to-media-questions-following-talks-with-minister-of-external-affairs-of-india/).
(Corollary : who is Daleep Singh : 2. https://theprint.in/diplomacy/daleep-singh-us-dy-nsa-who-warned-india-on-russia-ties-is-a-political-inheritor-mit-grad/898700/)
While the US team immediately took course correction by trying to dilute the message of Daleep Singh it seems that the damage was already done. The threat issued by Dep NSA was rather blunt and was supposed to take the air out of India’s smugness, of ditching the US for Russia after all the good work behind Asia pacific strategic alliances and QUAD. We are not sure whether the Dep NSA took upon himself to use such language or had the approval of his boss and super boss for the same. We are of the opinion that looking at president Biden’s work style and action on Russia, this is coming directly from him. The Americans want Indians to discard Russia at any cost . However it was only after realising the folly of issuing such a statement, where the social media and the media took upon itself to mock the Americans that, they realised and another press statement was issued which was positive and cooling the tempers (3. http://samanvaya.org.in/trending/22-will-show-india-us-ties-healthy-us-official/). (4. https://www.firstpost.com/opinion/us-deputy-nsa-daleep-singhs-threats-of-consequences-point-to-a-fissure-within-joe-biden-administration-on-india-10510802.html).
Now let us see the Russian FM and his comprehensive meeting with EAM Jaishankar, NSA Doval and then the PM himself. It seems that the Russians are badly stuck now in Ukraine and want to come out of it. In fact we have read that FM Lavrov has asked PM Modi to interfere and mediate between the two warring parties. However there has been some silence after the visit which keep a curtain on what all is happening. Either PM Modi is in no mood to mediate or some back door diplomacy is already going on that we may hear on a later date.
Meanwhile, Readers would recall that sometime back we have written very categorically that the Russian President Putin needs a rope to get out of the mess that he has put himself into. (5. http://samanvaya.org.in/has-president-putin-gone-too-far-with-a-failed-strategy-consequences-are-far-and-wide-to-be-borne-by-the-world-the-time-for-real-diplomacy-is-now/
Something similar was written by an expert in the Indian express today.6. https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/pushing-putin-into-a-corner-will-backfire-russia-ukraine-nato-7851245/
The latest news emanating from Kiev suggests that the Ukrainian forces have been able to defend themselves pretty well and are even reclaiming lost areas. The latest attack by the Russian army was also foiled and some are ascribing poor military strategy and preparation on part of the Russian army. There is also news of mass human rights violation and atrocities coming out of Bucha in Ukraine, a small town of approximate 35 k population just outside the outskirts of Kiev. President Biden has gone to the extent of calling Putin a war criminal and asking for trials for civilian killings. Even Europe and especially Germany has not taken kindly to the recent events in Bucha and there may be a relook at sanctions nd oil and gas policy towards Russia.
Summary and conclusion:There is no doubt that human rights violations have taken place at a very high level. For all its good reasons but rather unfortunately India is seen as a partner towards this humanity crisis by being with Russia. The western media rules the information war across the globe and let there be no doubt over that. They have painted Putin as the real war lord and all the BIG media houses of the world are filled with horrible stories and pictures. If the war continues for say another two or four weeks of time which we see, not only Russia India too can earn a bad name, no matter what. While the Dep NSA Daleep Singh has been aggressive and the US may have tried to modify the tone, the truth is the US must be really pissed off by India’s stance. This is true especially when President Biden is leaving no stone unturned to get Putin ousted, a claim that he had to deny later. India has to update its policy now. It has to step up efforts t stop this war and make sure that it is not seen as anti humanity. it must also make sure that it is not seen as totally Pro Russia and the US still has hopes with it. There is too much at stake and India cant afford to miss any point with either Russia or the US. While India has shown good support towards Russia, it’s time to show something and also give to the US. We hope and are sure PM Modi and his very able EAM Jaishankar will be doing their bit . But in case there is a lapse, consider this post as a humble reminder to be proactive and not leave Russia -Ukraine on their own to find a solution. Now is the time to interfere and mediate.
Dr Asheesh Shah
with best wishes