India revives friendship with Russia; should correct pro-American tilt

On December 6, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in New Delhi for the 21st India-Russia summit and inked 28 agreements. They decided to expand cooperation in defense, space and oil. Vladimir Putin called India a great power and a time-tested friend, he said that the ties were growing and he was looking into the future. Narendra Modi said that a lot of geo-political equations emerged, but India-Russia friendship remained a constant. There was also a 2+2 dialogue attended by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov; Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and his Russian counterpart General Sergey Shoygu.

Some of the agreements signed are:

  • AK203 rifles will be manufactured at a plant in Amethi (UP);
  • long term sourcing of organic fertilizers, coking coal, and related projects in the Russian Far East;
  • enhanced sourcing of Russian crude oil on long term contracts;
  • strengthening LNG imports to India.

Both sides discussed the evolving Afghanistan situation, emphasizing that its territory should not be used for terrorism. A pact was made between the Reserve Bank of India and Bank of Russia for responding to cyber-attacks.

Russia and India want to increase their annual trade to 30 billion dollars in 2025 from about 10 billion dollars in 2019. India has decided to give a 1-billion-dollar line of credit to businesses to invest in Russia's Far East. A Chennai-Vladivostok maritime corridor will open business opportunities. India may have a free trade agreement with the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union. It will expedite movements of goods between the two regions.

India has decided to go ahead with the long-range S-400 surface-to-air missile defense system deal in spite of tremendous American pressure to cancel the deal. India confirmed that the S-400 missile defense systems from Russia had started arriving this month and will continue.

India is realizing that American influence and strength are on the decline, whereas Russian and Chinese influence are growing. America is no longer able to control the world. America has been unable to contain China in Asia and Russia in Europe. The Quad (America, Japan, Australia and India) and the AUKUS (Australia, UK and US) alliances have not helped America to contain China. China seems determined to unite Taiwan with China. It looks like a matter of time when that happens. China seems to be in no hurry and it seems to feel that time is on its side. It just has to wear down Taiwan.

Ukraine seems to have become the testing ground in Europe. America has put its power and prestige at stake there. However, Russia seems to have the edge there. Russia has drawn red lines that it does not want America to cross. Russia does not want America to expand the NATO to the other East European countries because that will bring the NATO very close to the Russian borders. If America crosses the red lines, then Russia is going to invade Ukraine. So far it appears that America is unlikely to take the risk. Russia is likely to wear down the NATO and Ukraine and probably will prevail.

American inglorious defeat in Afghanistan has also made India ponder that America may not be able to help it face an increasingly assertive China. India seems to feel that Russia can help it in dealing with China. India also seems to be realizing that its future lies in the east. India started the look east policy a while ago. However, it was not convinced that the west is in a state of decline. Therefore, the look east policy was never seriously implemented and India continued its tilt towards the west that started after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The resurgence of Russia as a world power has convinced India that it should revive its traditional and time-tested friendship with Russia and should come back to the eastern fold.

Recent developments point in the same direction that America's influence and prestige are on the decline. America started a campaign for the diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. However, it seems to be getting nowhere. So far only a few countries have joined it; Australia, UK and Canada have announced that they are diplomatically boycotting the Games. India has decided not to join the boycott. Similarly, France and Italy have also announced that they are not joining the boycott campaign. China has declared that it will take very tough counter measures against the countries which will boycott the games. President Vladimir Putin has said that he will go to Beijing to participate in the ceremonies. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, is also going. China intends to make these Olympics a great success like the Summer Olympics of 2008.

America's democracy summit does not seem to be very effective. The criteria for being considered a democracy seems to be arbitrary to a point that it looks more like a joke. For example, Pakistan is a democracy whereas Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan are not considered democratic countries. The only criteria for democracy is that you are not close to China or Russia, or America needs you to advance its goals. Pakistan was declared democratic because America needs it to deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan. However, Pakistan really humiliated America by refusing to attend the summit.

America faced another setback right in its backyard when Nicaragua broke its longstanding diplomatic relations with Taiwan and switched allegiance to Beijing. There are now only 14 countries, none of them well known, which now recognize Taiwan. India must accept the fact that decline of America is not a transient, but a well-established trend. Similarly, rise of the east is also a major trend in today's world. Some scholars have declared that the Post American Era has already started. India has to consolidate its friendly relations with Russia and not just Look East, but get firmly established in the East and in the Eurasian region.

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Author`s name Sawraj Singh
Editor Dmitry Sudakov
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