Defence

Why Russia is no longer a strategic ally for India in new bipolar world led by US and China

By The Print

Russia is no longer a strategic ally for India as underlined by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to New Delhi earlier this week, said ThePrint’s Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta in episode 720 of ‘Cut the Clutter’ Thursday.

Lavrov arrived in New Delhi Monday and held talks with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar about defence cooperation among other aspects of bilateral ties. He also laid the groundwork for a bilateral summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the national capital, later this year.

Gupta explained that over the last four years, the global power balance has changed. “It’s been a confused world for the past four years, but it’s now quite clear that it is again becoming a bipolar world.”

The United States is one pole and China is the other pole. Meanwhile, Russia has resigned itself to being “the junior partner of China”, observed Gupta. India is an aspiring big power and the world is increasingly looking at it as a “balancing new power”, he added

‘What was America has now become Russia’
Gupta explained that during the Cold War, India was very friendly with what was then the Soviet Union as it helped grow its public sector steel plants with advanced technology, among other things. Now, after a few lows in the bilateral relationship with Russia, Putin has been able to put it back on an “even keel”, he observed.

“Since Vajpayee came to power, we have seen the India-US relationship get warmer and stronger and the relationship with Russia becoming more transactional,” said Gupta.

For decades, India had wanted Washington D.C. to de-hyphenate it with Pakistan and put an end to the concept of “two country rule”, explained Gupta. “Post Cold War, Indian foreign policy worked very hard to get these two things out of the way as they would irritate India,” explained Gupta. This has worked out well as Pakistan has started to disappear from India-US joint statements and American dignitaries who come to India no longer also make a trip to Pakistan, he added.

“But what was America, has now become Russia,” said Gupta. Though Moscow and New Delhi have shared a “special” relationship with elements of “nostalgia”, the former has started to hyphenate India with Pakistan, he said.

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