Vladimir Putin, hit by punitive sanctions and with few allies willing to defend him on the international stage, has cut an increasingly isolated figure in the days since he gave the order to invade Ukraine.
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But one major power that “three times refused to condemn Russian aggression” was India, The times reported. So far she has “not spoken out” against the Kremlin’s unprovoked attack on its Eastern European neighbors.
Narendra Modi’s government has for years “tried to strike a balance between its ties with the Kremlin and maintaining India’s status as the world’s largest democracy,” the newspaper said. But it’s also pursuing “warmer ties with the US,” a policy that could mean pushing the government off the fence about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
In the days since Putin gave the order for a three-pronged attack on Ukraine, Indian social media users have taken to the internet to support Russia’s attack.
“The hashtags #IstandwithPutin and #IstandwithRussia” are trending on Twitter, The Times said, with one user writing: “The man is fighting for his country and for the destruction of the monopoly of the US and Western countries.”
These individual statements of support for Putin have also been reflected in the Indian government’s response, which has been to abstain from a US-backed UN Security Council resolution strongly condemned the actions of Russia.
The abstention serves as “a balancing act to cultivate friends and partners on both sides”, The Indian Express said, as well as a “legacy of Nehruvian foreign policy of non-alignment”. Jawaharlal Nehru was an Indian anti-colonialist who steered a course between the US and the Soviet Union as Prime Minister from 1947 to 1964 during the Cold War.
India is wary of choosing sides in a conflict between sides USA and their NATO allies and Russia For the same reason, Nehru remained neutral in the 1950s and 1960s. After Indian governments fought for their independence, they have traditionally pursued an independent foreign policy.
The impact of Nehru’s anti-colonial policies on India’s position in the Russia-Ukraine conflict was also evident in a widely shared clip of reporter Rahul Shivshankar messing up his guests during an episode of his show India in advance.
Shivshankar mistakenly believed India was being attacked for its neutrality by Daniel McAdams, Executive Director of the US-based Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, shouting, “Don’t lecture us here in India, I won’t hear your lecture.”
“Your people and your colonial agenda have destroyed the South and the East. Don’t sit here lecturing us, don’t lecturing us, Mr. McAdams.” Shivshankar did insult a Ukrainian journalist, Bohdan Nahaylo.
India “has had close ties with Moscow for decades,” according to the Times. Its army “depends on Russia for about half of its defenses, which it sees as critical to countering border threats from China and Pakistan.”
Moscow has also “supported India during numerous foreign crises,” the paper continued, “particularly by preventing UN intervention in its dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir.” What Russia is now engaged in Putin framed as border security conflict On his own, Modi “seems to be returning the favor,” the newspaper added.
Get off the fence
While maintaining a position of strategic neutrality has served to maintain India’s ties with allies east and west, its “fence-sitting no longer serves its diplomatic or security interests,” India said foreign policy Columnist Sumit Ganguly.
The UN abstention “seems staggering,” he said, but is “not a surprising move for India.” The country “not only has a historic friendship with Russia, but is also dependent on Russian weapons”. Modi is also concerned “that the anti-Russia vote could cement Moscow’s strategic partnership with Beijing“, a nation with which India has a strained relationship.
But refusing to take sides “is likely tarnish” India’s “worldwide image as a democracy”, he warned. As other members of the international community line up to condemn Russia, India “cannot expect the world to ignore its response to the current crisis.”
The US on Wednesday “urged India to distance itself from Russia” Reuters reports and argues that “New sanctions against Russian banks will make it more difficult for countries to buy key military equipment from Moscow.”
Donald Lu, US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, told a Senate subcommittee, “India is now a really important security partner of ours and we value this partnership.
“For the future, I hope that part of what happens with the extreme criticism that Russia has faced is that India will realize that now is the time to further distance itself from Russia.”
Despite India’s “heavy strain of anti-Americanism,” according to the Times, officials worry “if sanctions hit Russia’s economy, its weakness could force it to become dependent on its ally China.”
“Is this the Russia that wants India as a strategic partner? China is India’s greatest threat, and any country dependent on China is a far from ideal strategic partner The time of India argued earlier this week. “India needs America to face China.”
https://www.theweek.co.uk/india/955978/why-india-will-not-condemn-russia-ukraine-invasion Why India Doesn’t Condemn Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine