With a lot still in common between India and Russia, the global dichotomies of Sino-US confrontation and Russia-US frostiness need not be insurmountable hurdles, says Professor Sreeram Chaulia of JSIA
Sreeram Chaulia, Jindal School of International Affairs (JSIA), O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana.
Upon his return from India this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said he feels no wavering on New Delhi’s end of its defence cooperation with Moscow, despite American pressure on anyone doing business with Russia.
The 19th-century British statesman Lord Palmerston famously said “we have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual.” This maxim has been used to justify flexibility for a country to choose and discard partners, depending on the changing times and circumstances.
Whether in defiance or in support of this very pragmatic logic, one major relationship has persisted. India and Russia have sustained a robust partnership through the Cold War, the post-Cold War era, and now in the emerging multipolar order. The international system as a whole has changed beyond comprehension in the last fifty years, but what New Delhi and Moscow call ‘Druzhba-Dosti’ (friendship in Russian and Hindi) has remained intact.
India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar referred to this while hosting his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on April 7 by remarking that India and Russia have shown a “consistent ability to identify and update our shared interests.”
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