As World Rebukes Russia, India Tries to Stay Above the Fray

President Joe Biden meets virtually with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, on monitor, as well the leaders of Japan and Australia, at the White House in Washington, on March 12, 2021. 

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.  

A recent report on India-Russia relations released by Congress has claimed that Americans are “disappointed and dismayed” with India’s neutral stance toward the Ukraine War.

Further, the report stated that the continuing warmth between New Delhi and Moscow has “raised questions about India’s role as a U.S. partner," adding that the observers were anticipating “a more principled stand from the world’s largest democracy.” 

The report, "India-Russia Relations and Implications for U.S. Interests," was published Aug. 24 by the Congressional Research Service. It made several sharp jabs at India’s continuing diplomacy with Russia. Calling their bilateral relations as a “special and privileged strategic partnership,” the report alleged that New Delhi “sees vital interests in maintaining working ties with Moscow.”

The document pointed out that India’s “unwillingness” to antagonize Russia or the U.S. during the Ukraine War was because of three central factors: international strategy/diplomacy; the arms and energy trades, including spare military equipment; and oil and coal.

For the United States to get a competing spot, the report suggested changes in U.S. laws pertaining to U.S.-India trade relations, over and above Congress’ consideration of “other means of encouraging India to scale their links with Russia.”

Support our journalism. Subscribe today. →

But the document mentions that, beyond the scope of trade and commerce, India maintaining friendly relations with Russia is a result of ideological similarity — especially in envisioning a multipolar world order.

“Both India and Russia share a preference for multipolarity, although India’s balancing act may not be sustainable over time. The Soviet Union’s and later Russia’s broad alignment with India’s regional policies over a period of decades, including Moscow’s support for New Delhi in multilateral talks, appears to be at the core of India’s enduring positive view of Russia,” the report suggested.

The report also remarked that the bilateral partnership between the U.S. and India, which has expanded and deepened under President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was put to test by “Russia’s renewed invasion of Ukraine.”

Although the report mentioned earlier that the U.S. leaders “appear to be abiding” of India’s ongoing friendship and commerce with Russia, it noted that India’s “divergent approaches” in this situation carry the risk of a potential disruption in the U.S.-India relations.

According to a senior observer mentioned in the report, “the administration’s ‘tremendous forbearance toward India’s very disappointing response’ on Russia” might lead to an increase of “Washington’s frustration” with the passage of time, potentially hampering U.S.-India ties.