Politics & International Studies

India’s Tightrope Walk on Russian Invasion of Ukraine May Have Long-Term Consequences

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Right) with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Image source: Shutterstock

From the Indian perspective, a silent endorsement for the Russians is likely to catalyse a consolidatory push for Chinese interests in the South Asian region over time, posing a risk for India, argues the author.


Deepanshu Mohan, Associate Professor and Director, Centre for New Economics Studies, Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.


For a country that claims to be a vishwaguru or world teacher, India’s shortsighted stance on critical geopolitical events remains baffling sometimes.

This was evident in the United Nations Security Council vote on January 31 when India joined Kenya and Gabon in abstaining from a Security Council vote to discuss the Russian military threat to Ukraine. Ten nations supported the successful American initiative. Only China joined Russia in opposing it.

In what is being perceived as a tightrope walk for India, taking a more neutral stance on the Russia-Ukraine war may have long-term adverse consequences for the nation with regards to its relationship with democratic allies of the European Union, the United States and of course, Ukraine.

Yes, India may not share a border with either Russia or Ukraine, and as many intellectual elites have already argued, the case for New Delhi not taking sides between Washington and Moscow may appear straightforward, or a replay to its earlier neutral stance when Russia annexed Crimea.


Russia is one of India’s largest arms suppliers and a key strategic ally. More than half of India’s arms imports between 2016-2020 were from Russia. As Sadanand Dhume argued in the Wall Street Journal: “Many Indian foreign-policy elites also view what’s officially called the country’s ‘special and privileged strategic partnership’ with Russia as a totem of Indian strategic autonomy.

India shares Russia’s goal of a multipolar world. It is a member of the Russian- and Chinese-dominated Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and of BRICS, a loose grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.”

But Russian military action against Ukraine is a different event – at a different point of time in world history. The world has not been this polarised since World War II.

Published in: Source: Scroll.in (Cross Posted with The Wire)

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