Breaking Down Why India is Fence-Sitting on the Russia-Ukraine Conflict
The Big StoryMarch 09, 2022
00:26:1624.1 MB

Breaking Down Why India is Fence-Sitting on the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February, countries around the world have condemned it for its aggression through sanctions and statements.

However, India, one of the key players in international relations and geopolitics, has held its nose and has been mum on the issue. As of 8 March, it has abstained five times on any vote of condemnation and has avoided criticising Russia. 

While none of these abstentions have affected the outcome of the vote, India’s silence on the entire conflict through its vote has raised questions on how long it can walk on this tightrope.

Its abstentions are not of surprise since India-Russia relations have endured everything since the Cold War and has remained a close strategic ally of Russia. Pertinently, India imports the majority of its arms and ammunition from Russia, with some estimates going as high as 70 percent.

But India’s balancing act is now proving increasingly difficult as the situation worsens in Ukraine, which even prevented Indian students stranded in Eastern Ukraine from evacuating. More so, the diplomatic pressure on India is also increasing, with the US indicating multiple times the “importance of a strong collective response to Russian aggression” and even the Ukrainian Ambassador to India stating that his country is “deeply dissatisfied” with India’s position on the issue.

So the big question here is, for how long can India look back on old friendships to make foreign policy decisions in the present and future? Is it in India’s best interest to remain neutral in this crisis?

Joining me today to discuss the same is Nandan Unnikrishnan, a distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, a global policy think tank.

Host and Producer: Himmat Shaligram
Editor: Saundarya Talwar

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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