|Dont allow Russia to drift far away. Some positive actions are required to balance out China’s favour towards Russia
Recent events show that Russia is now getting closer and closer to China and a bit drifting away from India. This is something that must worry our foreign policy makers. Viewed from both angles these developing scenario is not conducive to national interests. Dependence of Russia on China is not desirable as it weakens India’s position from multiple angles. Similalry on its own Russia slipping away from India is also not good as we may loose a time tested ally permnanently or atleast for some good years. Therefore we suggest that the EAM must look at this as a priority and work out some positive events between Russia and India, so that the old trust and relationship gets a boost.
The past few days have seen contrasting statements coming from both Ukraine and Russia. While Russia is claiming siege of Bakhmut an important city , Ukraine has denied this. This developing scenario has to be seen in the backdrop of Russian gaining slightly upper hand with respect to Ukraine and hence the western nations led by USA.
It should be noted that America has sanctioned use of F-16 for Ukraine which is considered as further escalation ofthe war between Ukraine and Russia and may lead towards nuclear usage by Russia. Previously China’s premier Xi visited Russia to meet President Putin and extend the support of China to it. The Russian PM is also visiting China and will meet Xi besdie others. Russia’s confidence has increased since then and one can see the change on ground also which was going against Russia earlier is now back in favour of it.
We are also hearing some negative sentiments coming from Russia with respect to India related to payments terms and currency denomination. India’s potential is rather small as compared to China , moreover Russia shares long border with China. Both the countries are /were communist also makes China a better partner for Russia and one can see the new found bon homie between the two nations. For China also its a win win situation as it prepares itself to challenge USA and also gets back Taiwan which is claims to be its own. Note that China has waited long before announcing its full support to Russia and analysed the situation well. By obliging Russia in this critical hour, China has also assured that India gets cut off with its most trusted ally historically.
The world is moving dangerously towards polarization of forces that may ultimately lead towards a world war. Call it WW 3 or whatever but one cant escape the harsh reality that thisv WW3 looks more probable now than a few years back. In case that happens It will be really difficult for India to chose sides. It cant also remain neutral though this seems to be the best option But to have tis option open India need to have very good relations with Russia else China’s border tactics will keep it moving towards America. India is already commiitted to the QUAD which acts as major threat to especially China. If India allows Russia to drift more and more and finally towards China, India will have no option but to side with America. The only option that remains is if Russia, China and India can all come toghether. This is a tricky situation and cannot be ruled out all. China shares border with both Russia and India and there is a possibility that it may have to reconsider its options vise versa India.
This is possible only if we have good relations with Russia which will also act as a pressure bullet on China. Giving free hand to China wrt Russia will be not in India’s interest.
Finally what if India has to make a choice between Russia and America. We think that only time and circumstances will dictate this event. As of now India has to make sure that it has good strong relations with both America and Russia.
PM Modi is invited to US by President America. Surely Ukraine / Russia/ China will be discussed. An article by Ashley Tellis that took India by its collars for its position towards Russia has already set the ball rolling. America would like to see India dumping Russia for once and all. PM Modi has to make sure that he does not fall in any such trap. Ameirca is also not in a very good position economically or otherwise.
The worst it can do is to support Pakistan which neverhthless it keeps doing. But the situation has changed a bit. With US and Chines einterest clashing there is a limit to
American support towards Pakistan. Also if India also keep flirting with America with all its charm , it cannot go wrong.
It has to be really seen how Presdient Biden treats PM Modi. He has already pampered Modi with some good comments during the G7 meet. But then one never knows the real intentions of America so easliy. America can still entice India and Pm
Modi with some BIG announcements and may also try to extract concessions from it against Russia.
WE therefore suggest that India must play safe at the moment with America but also try to support Russia so that it does not drift far away and move unequivocally with China as its junior partner.
The European Union and many of its member countries are also confused and no one knows who will sleep with whom. India has to be really play smart to tide off the growing confusion and polarization in international relationship. India diplomacy and PM Modi’s foreign policy will be fully tested in days to come.
With EAM Jaishankar one hopes that India can sail through this international turmoil safely.
Dr Asheesh Shah