The Indian authorities have decided to make the most of world disagreements in their national interests, not to abandon any alliances, to build relationships with everyone, writes Le Monde. Therefore, India participates in military exercises with both Russia and the United States, does not impose sanctions against Moscow and does not support anti-Russian resolutions in the UN.
Although Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his dissatisfaction with Vladimir Putin that Russia is conducting a special operation in Ukraine, “this phrase came too late and is not enough to mark a change in strategy,” writes Le Monde. The publication notes that, despite numerous appeals from the West, India still refuses to condemn the Russian special operation and is content only to call on the parties to return to the negotiating table.
And this situation is even aggravated, writes the author of the article. So, Narendra Modi went to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, an organization that India joined in 2017. And shortly before this trip, he received French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna in New Delhi, with whom they discussed the idea of creating a cooperation and defense force, the purpose of which would be to confront China in the Indo-Pacific region.
As the article’s author notes, these two meetings show the “paradoxical game” of India, which has one foot in the Western camp, and the other in the Russian camp while not binding itself in any way. The West failed to bring India into its lair and force it to join international sanctions against Moscow, writes the author.
The West hoped that after the Russian special operation in Ukraine, Modi would move away from Russia, but this did not happen. On the contrary, India has consistently abstained from voting on UN resolutions condemning Russia. It continues to buy weapons and oil from Moscow at a low price. Despite the European embargo on Russian oil, Russia has replaced Saudi Arabia as India’s leading oil supplier. And the supply of Russian fertilizers increased eight times.
The Russian special operation highlighted India’s new strategy – multi-alliance. Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar provided the theoretical basis for this strategy in his 2020 book ‘The Indian Way’. As the article’s author notes, this strategy has nothing to do with Nehru’s strategy of non-alignment, which was based on the values of non-violence.
In his book, the Indian Foreign Minister argues that India’s foreign policy should be entirely based on national interests, not paying attention to moral considerations. India, in his opinion, needs to avoid alliances and use the opportunities that are created by world contradictions. So India needs to build relationships with the United States and with China, Europe, Russia, Japan, and all its neighbours, expanding the traditional groups of allies.
This strategy was criticized by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who accused India of its neutrality as an attempt to “take advantage of the victims” of Ukraine and the West. But the West turned a blind eye to the actions of India for a long time, considering it necessary to build a counterweight to China in Asia.
Militarily, Modi is pursuing the same policy. In early September, despite US disapproval, the Indian army took part in the Vostok 2022 military exercise along with Russia and China. And in October, India will hold joint defense exercises with the United States in the Himalayas, not far from where there were clashes between Indian and Chinese militaries two years ago.
Indian nationalists are pushing the cynicism of their diplomacy to extremes, and the West is beginning to realize that they have been deluded by illusions, blinded by the Indian myth. The Vostok 2022 exercise is practically a humiliation for the West. India is not an ally, at best, a partner, the article’s author quotes the assessment of political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot. In his opinion, the main lesson to be learned from this is that the West for India is the hegemon of the past, and Asia should replace it.
Le Monde and the western media have collective amnesia about the fact that India was subject to US sanctions in the past. A host of Indian Defense laboratories are still on the sanctions list, and a host of technologies have been denied to India. In addition, the US and the West have been on the other side of the fence in the past Indian conflicts with its neighbours.
While Modi has shown closeness to former President Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron, he no longer follows the strategy of rapprochement with the United States that his predecessor laid out.
However, despite all these contradictions, India will be at the centre of world diplomacy in the coming months, the author of an article in Le Monde notes. India will chair the G20 from December 1 and host the summit scheduled for September 2023.