Notwithstanding the ongoing political tension between India and China after the Galwan Valley clash in 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stature in the dragon nation seems to have grown. India will protect its autonomy at all costs—this is the message which is resonating across after New Delhi refused to buckle under pressure from the West to criticise Russia.
While China has closely monitored the developments at the just concluded QUAD summit in Tokyo where the Indo Pacific Economic Framework was kicked off, it hailed India’s stand despite New Delhi signing the pact. It also praised India for refusing to come under pressure to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University told Beijing based state owned media house Global Times that it shows India's position as an independent global power.
Sources in New Delhi told India Narrative that “strategic autonomy” will be the driver for the Modi government’s diplomacy.
“Let us not forget that India is part of the QUAD but it is also an integral member of the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) block. Interestingly all BRICS members have been on the same page in relation to the issue of Russia-Ukraine conflict,” an analyst told India Narrative.
Despite pressure from the US, the Narendra Modi government has maintained its neutrality on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. India has continued its import of Russian oil.
On May 19, all foreign ministers of BRICS countries held a virtual conference, where Chinese President Xi Jinping in a video address at the opening session of the meeting underlined the need for BRICS countries to increase mutual understanding and trust, tighten the bond of cooperation, and deepen the convergence of interests.
It is now to be seen if Modi attends the BRICS summit to be held later this year. During Wang's pitstop visit to New Delhi earlier this year, New Delhi gave a clear message that Modi will not attend the summit until Beijing carries out complete disengagement of troops in the Ladakh sector.
To make things worse, China is now building a second bridge on the Pangong Tso lake, very close to the friction points on the border.