India has faced some questions from the west on what is being described by some as soft-peddling on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Regardless of this, New Delhi has maintained a “cautious stance” on expressing its views on the matter but it continues to call for the cessation of violence and the path of diplomacy to end the conflict.
Against this backdrop, in an article jointly authored by academics Jagannath Panda and Eerishika Pankaj, the experts argued that India is staying true to its own policies of non-alignment and national interest needs.
Panda is the head of ISDP’s (Institute for Security & Development Policy) Stockholm Center for South Asian and Indo-Pacific Affairs.
Meanwhile, Eerishika Pankaj is the Director of the Organisation for Research on China & Asia (ORCA).
Writing for the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI), they contend that India’s silent diplomacy on Ukraine allows room to maintain its strategic autonomy and such an overture allows Russia some respite from international backlash.
“Both China and India have remained prominent voices absent from condemning Russian actions, and the move has gone to show the clear importance Moscow holds for both Delhi and Beijing. While the critical value of Russia as an arm and energy supplier to India has been largely credited as the reason behind Delhi’s aversion to breaking its silence on Ukraine, another key factor shaping India’s policy is Moscow’s role as a balancer, especially vis-a-vis China,” they write.
According to Panda and Pankaj, Russia’s partnership with India and the ideological friendship it shares with China have long been balanced delicately by the Kremlin to ensure that the three Eurasian powers stick together against the West.
“Even in Doklam and Galwan, Russian neutrality and focus on continuing with the RIC (Russia-India-China) framework as a means of dialogue post-conflict highlight this outlook,” they wrote.
India’s ties with Russia stand on strategic, diplomatic and defence cooperation, ranging across energy, arms and defence with international support.
“Despite US sanctions like Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), India’s decision to go ahead with its procurement of S-400 air defence systems yet again proves that India’s relations with Russia stand on their own merit,” they said.