- The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine meanders along much to the chagrin of the world community even as global supply chains get disturbed due to sanctions and other related issues surrounding the conflict. The heat is being felt literally across the globe as vital commodities are proving to be costlier by the day largely affecting the common citizens. India too is not shielded from the vagaries of the Russian invasion as the crude oil price is hitting the roof. Several other commodities imported from Russia and Ukraine have raised sharply over the last few weeks. With no sign of calling a truce in sight, the world community is bracing itself for a long haul.
- Against this backdrop, the virtual meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden hours before the fourth India-US 2+2 dialogue involving foreign and defence ministers reiterated the importance of the overall strategic partnership. Mind you, this is significant because the two sides remain apart in the Ukraine war and Russia. While Washington continues to insist that it isn’t in New Delhi’s interest to increase energy imports from Moscow, New Delhi has steadfastly stuck to its position of strategic autonomy with the aim of divorcing the politics around the conflict from the horrors of the war itself.
- Of course, this saw Modi unilaterally raise the Bucha killings and condemn them without assigning blame to anyone. People in the know would vouch there is no denying that India’s position on the war has been evolving. Its last abstention on the UNGA vote to expel Russia from the UNHRC actually favoured the US resolution. Moreover, India has dispatched humanitarian aid to Ukraine and is preparing to do more in this regard at Kyiv’s request. Besides, India’s ties with Russia cannot be altered overnight. Delving further, this is akin to Europe’s energy dependence on Russia that continues despite several EU nations promising a drawdown which is easier said than done though.
PC: Rohit Raj
- Needless to mention, India and the US have no choice but to work together as Moscow for all practical purposes will be Beijing’s junior partner in the foreseeable future. Given that revisionist China is the biggest threat to the rules-based international order and India’s territorial sovereignty, New Delhi’s and Washington’s interests clearly align. Note that if India-US ties are to amplify it would require Americans to do more in terms of defence technology transfers to reduce Indian dependency on Russia. The two sides have now signed bilateral space situational awareness arrangements and are deepening cooperation in cyberspace coupled with the 2+2 joint statement calling on Pakistan to not allow its territory for terrorism bodes well for the convergence to grow. Remember, the world’s two largest democracies ought to be natural partners in upholding the global order rather than drift apart.