The Russian-Ukraine war is a multi-dimensional turmoil that has brought a different flux into the international arena. The paradigm change, although it has got nothing to do with the ongoing tussle and war between the two respective nations.
The cat’s already been out of the bag for a long time. Far more than geopolitical repercussions, the unfolding of the events is leading to the economic consequences led by the West and its minions.
Well, West’s plight and insecurity are understandable. The West is being hostile towards India as it is an unacceptable fact for them that India, a ‘scapegoat’ for decades, is now taking an independent position. But perhaps the West forgot that the ‘New India’ is not a boot-licker or a beggar but a chooser now. Certainly capable of bringing forth its stand.
India’s fitting reply to the West
India has not taken well with the threat (not so subtle) given by the US recently over maintaining cordial economic and bilateral relations with Russia.
On the one hand, the US cautioned that there would be consequences for countries actively attempting to “circumvent or backfill” American sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine and said it would not like to see a “rapid” acceleration in India’s import of energy and other commodities from Russia.
Contrary to that, the US said that every country has its relationship with Moscow, and Washington is not seeking any change. Then, please care to explain what was the need to send a US envoy to India and warn India to face the consequences?
They are juxtaposing their own statements here. Indeed, this is not the language of diplomacy but coercion. US Deputy National Security Adviser Daleep Singh, referring to the “no limits” partnership between Moscow and Beijing, said India should not expect Russia to come to its defence in case China violates the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
A quick question: Did the US and its NATO allies come to the rescue of Ukraine? Just thinking that unilateral punitive economic measures against Russia (which hold no sanctity in the internal law) are enough to cease the war! We can be sure that the US will never be coming to help India if LAC is breached. Showing its true colours!
The US Doesn’t want mechanisms that would prop up the Russian currency. India’s current import of Russian energy doesn’t violate any of the American sanctions as the US had given exemption on the flow of energy from Russia, but at the same time added that Washington would like to see its allies and partners find ways to reduce their reliance on an “unreliable supplier”.
India has pointed out and reiterated why it is being targeted only when other countries of the EU are much more dependent and have higher stakes on Russia for energy supplies? Why are they being exempted, and only India is questioned? It’s like a campaign against India.
West is allowed to bend the rules, but if a non-west country does the same, it is being warned and cautioned regarding the ‘consequences’! This is not how diplomacy works.
India’s former envoy to the United Nations, Syed Akbaruddin, condemned US Deputy National Security Adviser Daleep Singh for his remarks on India’s trade deals with Russia amid the war against Ukraine. He explained that the US official’s comments were a “display of rather crude public diplomacy of a nature that is not expected from a friendly country like the US”. He also said that punitive, unilateral economic measures breach customary international law.
During the recent high-level talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, India and Russia exchanged cordiality amid a “difficult international environment”. PM Modi also met with the Russian Foreign Minister to convey India’s readiness to contribute in any way to the peace efforts and resolve the conflict. While India reiterated its stand in favour of resolving issues through diplomacy, Russia said that the search for a balance of interests will always prevail between the two countries. This shows New Delhi’s stand firm on strategic autonomy, including its foreign policy.
Some are of the view that a small amount of increase in trade with Russia cannot be seen as circumventing the Western sanctions. India would not have been keen to sign energy agreements with Russia if other alternative sources were available at a reasonable price. India suffered earlier because of the US sanctions on Iran. Washington must realise that other countries are not legally bound to follow its unilateral sanctions.
While there are apparent attempts to corner India to change its mind on the conflict, the West is persistent in calling the war in Ukraine the single biggest event in recent times, adversely impacting geopolitics.
MEA S Jaishankar referred to the Afghanistan crisis in August 2021. He said as this crisis affected India due to its closer geography and pointed out the proximity factor. The crisis did not impact Europe, and vice versa in similar veins. One can observe the same for the Russian- Ukraine conflict.
The bilateral relations in the multipolar world are views from multiple prisms. One cannot do away with ease. The Indo-Russian relations at that have a historical relation and have stood for each other when time demanded. It’s also true that Indo- US relations are also on the upswing, so India is conscious and alert. However, pressuring India is undermining the core global principles of international dialogue. India has made its stand clear regarding the conflict on the UN platform.
India is trying to look out for itself in these unprecedented times like any other nation-state. Then why it is the only one singled out? Why should a distant war affect the Indian economy? Yes, India does not condone any form of violence, but one has to think practically in this interdependent world. It’s time that the West stops lecturing India, looks at its backyard and introspect its behaviour in the international context. The West seriously needs to get a reality check.