In the face of full-scale Russian aggression against Ukraine, India is trying to strike a balance between the West, a supplier of technology and a market for Indian products and services, and Russia, which has been an important economic partner for decades. India is the world’s largest purchaser of Russian arms as well as one of the main importers of Russian military and energy technologies. What else is there to their relationship?
India, the world’s biggest democracy, refrained from joining with other democratic governments of the World in criticising Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. New Delhi has abstained on every United Nations resolution addressing the issue and refused to join with the international community in economic penalties on Moscow, prompting a warning from the United States about potentially being accused of evading sanctions.
As Europe’s purchases of Russian hydrocarbons continued to shrink, Moscow began selling them to China and India, earning USD 24 bn in the process in the first three months of the invasion alone. Since it does not share a border with Russia and its ports are often too far away for cost-effective shipping, India’s surge in expenditure after the conflict has been far more substantial.
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is also shaking up the global food market, where India is an important player. During their recent conversation, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Russia is still a reliable producer and supplier of grains, fertilisers, and energy. Putin pointed the blame away from his actions, instead “drawing attention to the systemic mistakes made by a number of countries that have allegedly disrupted free trade architecture in food goods and triggered significant rises in their prices”.
The Kremlin is able to feed its narrative to India, without much scrutiny. India continues and will continue to import fertiliser from Russia and import oil and petroleum products.
Krzysztof Iwanek, PhD, from the University of War Studies and CEO of Asia Research Center, has been invited to shed more light on the issue.
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