InvestorQ : Has India been reducing its support for Russia in the Ukraine war and what is the reason for that?
vaishnavi mhatre made post

Has India been reducing its support for Russia in the Ukraine war and what is the reason for that?

vidhya Laxmi answered.
1 month ago

I would not venture say that India has reduced its support, but there is a perceptible shift. Just about 6 months back, when the Russia Ukraine war had begun, India was going out of the way to support Russia as its key defence partner. However, that enthusiasm is waning as the Indian government is getting wary about supporting a country that is not only annexing territories of its neighbour but also indulging in civilian killings. There have been several indications in the recent past which indicate that India is changing its soft stance towards Russia and wants to get a massage to the world that it is being fair.

India is shifting its stand in a number of ways, if you look at the evidence coming out. For instance, India has refused to support Russia in their demand for a secret ballot on Ukraine at the UN. Here India firmly voted against the Russian idea. Secondly, at the recent SCO meeting at Samarkand, Uzbekistan; Modi had firmly told Putin that the current economic situation was hardly the time to wage war. Thirdly, the enthusiasm to buy oil from Russia is also waning as India is back to relying on its erstwhile Middle East and African partners. It has also placed a record order for oil from the Alberta sands in Canada.

The change is surely there and here is why this change is happening. While India has not condemned Russia openly for now, there are several reasons for this stance shift.

a) India has been perturbed by the fact that in recent weeks, the Russian attacks on civilian Ukrainian targets has intensified and Russia has also annexed some of the Ukrainian territories.

b) India has a problem with any annexation as supporting such a move would mean legitimizing some of the annexation that China and Pakistan have done of Indian territory. Also, then it has to support Israel in the Palestine conflict.

c) But trade is a lot more of the reason for this shift. Russia is still a small trading partner for India. In most cases, once normalcy returns, even Russian oil will not be feasible for India due to its freight costs. Hence India needs to keep its bets hedged.

d) India relies on China heavily for its imports but it needs the US, UK and EU to generate trade surplus. That partially offsets the deficit that India runs with China. Sanctions at this stage for supporting Russia post December would spoil the equation.

e) Lastly, Indian companies dealing with UK and UK based companies are facing a lot of pressure not to have any dealings with Russia while Western banks are refusing to fund or open LCs for oil that is from Russia. Clearly, the pressure is building up and December is when the full sanctions kick in.

But beyond all these statistics and numbers, there is an inherent concern about the role of China. India fears that if sanctions toughen in December then Russia would only get closer to China. That means, in any conflict that India has with China, Russian support cannot be counted upon. It makes a lot more sense to side with the Western powers under these circumstances. That is exactly what India is shifting to.