Walking a tightrope, how much longer can India play both sides? – Free daily press
As the invasion of Ukraine enters its second month, the repercussions of the war are being felt around the world.
Energy markets are already feeling the effects of sanctions on Russian oil and gas, and other commodities could also be subject to similar shocks. Russia and Ukraine supply more than a quarter of the world’s wheat, putting food prices at risk. So much so that some countries, like Egypt, have already taken steps to increase domestic wheat production in preparation.
However, disruptive as they are, these are only the first side effects of the conflict. Just as the way economic relations and supply lines are redrawn, political relations will also need to be re-inspected.
Earlier this month, at the UN General Assembly, the invasion of Ukraine was widely denounced by the international community. Although only five nations voted against the resolution – which called on Russia to “immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders” – a few notable countries held back. sentence.
Most interesting is India, which has only recently strengthened its relationship with the United States through the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or “Quad”.
The “Quad” was formed in 2007 and consists of India, Australia, Japan and the United States. It has recently risen to prominence due to unanimous concerns about China’s growing regional and economic power, and serves as a solid platform for bilateral cooperation between the United States. and India.
Although US-India relations have been strained in the past by the former’s friendship with Pakistan during the Cold War, the struggle against Chinese power has been a sufficient platform to maintain a close partnership between the countries. .
This is interesting, because concern over China is what initially prompted India to establish ties with Russia.
After its war with China in 1962, India approached the Soviet Union as a pragmatic move to address its regional concerns. During the remainder of the Cold War, India became a reliable and stable partner of the Soviets. Even to this day, India still relies heavily on Russia for its weapons systems, with its recent plans to acquire Russia’s brand new S-500 missile system being the latest purchase to raise American eyebrows.
Although India’s ties with Russia have always been to the bewilderment of the United States, the recent invasion of Ukraine has shed light on this issue.
Continued imports of Russian oil and purchases of Russian weapons systems do not sit well with the new US policy of making Russia a pariah in the international community. What was once a tenable position, walking a tightrope between the United States and Russia, no longer seems possible to hold.
Although India will not yet face any consequences, as it remains an important partner for both the United States and Russia, the pressure to choose a side will only grow.
India’s foreign policy has long favored global neutrality. Having its roots in the Non-Aligned Movement of the Cold War, India’s partnerships and agreements were made out of necessity and pragmatism, as India wanted to avoid being used to serve the interests of the great powers.
Neutrality is a doctrine that has dictated India’s foreign policy for decades and is now being tested by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. India may no longer be able to stay out of this conflict as its future interest in global affairs is at stake.