India’s partnership with the Soviet Union and subsequently with Russia have been a factor of stability in geo-politics for the past seven decades. And when the world is yet again facing multiple challenges with the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, threat from radical groups and terrorists and rising tensions between Beijing and Washington, the strategic partnership between New Delhi and Moscow can be a source of stability.
China’s phenomenal rise has been the most significant geo-political development during the past three decades and as Xi Jinping’s China continues to challenge the status quo in geo-politics in a brazen fashion the international community is stitching plurilaterals to counterbalance Beijing unbridled ambitions.
While in common refrain Russia pushed by the West has build bridges with China and appear to work in tandem on geo-political issues, it would be erroneous to view Sino-Russian partnership working against India’s interests. While a cliched black & white approach often clouds narratives, geo-politics is about nuances and dominated by tactical arrangements. A Sino-Russian military alliance may not be in the offing in the backdrop of Moscow’s strategic partnership with India and Vietnam – both of which have boundary disputes with China.
This factor will continue to shape Moscow’s views as evident from the decision by Russia to continue supplying arms to India and fulfilling obligations at the height of the Galwan crisis. New Delhi and Moscow have been steadfast in their support for each other’s territorial sovereignty.
Recently while China sent a junior representative, the Russian President was the only head of state present at the UNSC maritime security meet convened by India. Russia also backed India at the UNSC on not extending 90-day travel waiver for the Taliban leaders despite strong demand from China to grant 180-day waiver.
The Indo-Russian permanent High-Level Mechanism on Afghanistan is the only such mechanism that the Russian establishment has created following Taliban takeover of Kabul amid common threat perceptions. The two sides are now closely coordinating to counter common threats in the Afghan theatre.