As India sticks to its plank of neutrality despite intense pressure from the West to condemn Russia after its Ukraine invasion, it has sent a message to the world that its strategic autonomy is of paramount importance.
Bhaskar Koirala, Director of the Nepal Institute of International and Strategic Studies told India Narrative that the centre of “gravity of world politics has already shifted in this east-ward direction.”
Beijing based Global times said that New Delhi’s insistence of maintaining strategic autonomy has put India in a “comfortable” situation.
Zhao Gancheng, a research fellow at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told the Global Times that “India has won itself greater room to maneuver between countries of different stances with its neutral position” on the Russia-Ukraine issue.
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India turned a stage for global diplomacy as leaders from across the world landed in New Delhi.
Daleep Singh, US’ deputy national security adviser for international economics, also the chief architect of the sanctions imposed against Russia after its Ukraine invasion, arrived in India last week. Foreign ministers of Russia, UK and Germany, Sergey Lavrov, Liz Truss and Jens Plotner respectively reached New Delhi around the same time. Besides, Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s three day official trip to India too kicked off Friday.
The news organisation said that though the almost simultaneous arrivals of Singh and Lavrov have been described as coincidence by New Delhi, “it has demonstrated how India's insistence on strategic autonomy in the Russia-Ukraine conflict has given the country a current status where both the US and Russia consult with it actively, allowing India to maximize its interests in this contentious issue of international attention.”
Singh’s unwarranted warning to India for its stand on the Russia-Ukraine issue has also come under sharp criticism. Hitting back at Singh Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the country’s interest comes first.
While an embarrassed Washington said that Singh had fruitful discussions with New Delhi has remained stern in its position on Russia.
“I will put my country’s interest first and energy security first. If oil is available and at a discount, why shouldn’t I buy it? I need it for my people. We have already started purchasing. The nitty-gritty is being worked out,” Sitharaman said at a function.
“India stands for peace, India stands for dialogue and most importantly India stands for India – this message has gone out to the global fraternity,” Anil Trigunayat, former ambassador and Distinguished Fellow at Vivekananda International Foundation told India Narrative.
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Interestingly India along with China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan among several others in Asia as well as Africa have been on the same page. The BRICS bloc comprising India, China, Brazil, and South Africa besides Russia has also taken a similar stand towards the current Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Prior to this, on March 20, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida paid a visit to India, when he announced massive investment plans and thereafter last week, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi made a surprise low key stop over in New Delhi before leaving for Kathmandu.