Author: Vishwajeet Kumar, 1st Year Student at National Law and Judicial Academy Assam.
Relations between New Delhi and Moscow are rooted in history, mutual trust and equally beneficial for both countries. It is a strategic partnership that has withstood the test of time and enjoys the support of the people of both great countries. The year 2019 to 2020 saw several trends that impacted both India and Russia. For example trade war and ideological war between the U.S.A. and China, the India-China border disputes and India active participant in quad and Indo-Pacific.
As New Delhi and Moscow both desire to part of a multi-polar world, due to changing geopolitical scenario around the world ,the relationship between New Delhi and Moscow is not good as it used to be in united progressive alliance[UPA] but visit of India’s Foreign secretary to Russia is to analyze the significance of Indo-Russian ties in a universe of changing geopolitical scenario.
Importance of Russia for India
1-To counter China:
The People Liberation army aggression in the boundary of Ladakh, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh brought New Delhi and Beijing to an inflection point, but Moscow is capable to defusing tensions with Beijing. Moscow organized a trilateral meeting among the defense and foreign ministers of Moscow, Beijing and New Delhi.
2- New Sectors of Economic Engagement:
New Delhi is the biggest importer of weapons from Moscow. We should not restrict to weapons and nuclear energy sector only new areas of economic activities are probably going to arise — mining, agro-mechanical, and high innovation, including mechanical technology, nanotech, and biotech. India gave a one billion loan to Russia in 2019 for Russian Far East development.
India and Russia are working to fill the gap in Afghanistan and are calling for early conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
4-Support at international forum:
Russia has always supported to India’s permanent membership in United Nation Security Council.
Importance of India for Russia
To counter China: Russia and China are currently in a quasi-alliance setup. Moscow never want to be junior partner of Beijing. That is the reason Moscow needs India to go about as a balancer.
For instance, Russia’s Far East is a big landmass that is rich in resources, but it is not populated and developed.
Till now, there is no presence of Chinese, but Russia has never wanted Chinese dominance in this region, so Russia needs to differentiate with the assistance of India to reduce its developing reliance on China.
Eurasian Union: Russia tries to use India’s soft power to acquire authenticity in the accomplishment of the Eurasian Economic Union, and restoring its authority, as it existed during the Cold War period.
New Delhi moving towards West: China’s expansionist international strategy forced India to shed the past and make new alliance with European Union and U.S.A. This can be reflected in a decided restart of the Quad group and a free movement in and Indo-Pacific.
Moscow moving to East: U.S.A. and European Union has imposed various sanction on Moscow after the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Russia felt isolated for this reason so as to why it moves towards the East. Now Moscow has improved relations with Beijing, Islamabad and Ankara which directly effect New Delhi.
How New-Delhi can Improve relations with Moscow
1-Moscow role in Indo –pacific: New Delhi should pursue and facilitates Moscow active participants in Indo-Pacific. It will contribute to making the Indo-Pacific free and inclusive.
2-Cooperation and coordination at international forums: New Delhi and Moscow continue to share common bilateral relationship but the two are members of various multilateral organizations like G20, RIC, BRICS and SCO where both countries should cooperate with each other.
It is clear that both countries share deep mutual trust but nowadays, both countries and their foreign policy are going in different directions, but it is also clear New Delhi and Moscow both countries do not want to be a junior partner to Beijing. Thus, both countries should turn back and bolster their ties as existed since New Delhi’s independence.