A combination of underlying international power shifts, with China and Russia at odds with the United States and the West, has placed India in a favorable position to reap the benefits making India the biggest winner of the Ukraine war.
Pundits have been debating if the conflict in Ukraine has benefited or harmed China and the United States for months, reports the South China Morning Post.
When it pertains to great power politics, however, India has been the clear winner. Is it chance, genius, or a combination of the two? Whatever it is, it has pulled off a great balancing act with Russia, the United States, and China, gaining huge benefits and advantages while making minimal compromises.
Remaining above the fray and incurring Washington’s wrath was a dangerous play for India. As it turns out, the US has gone to great lengths to justify New Delhi’s neutrality, even offering to give the country more sophisticated weapons systems to replace its long-standing dependence on Russian armaments.
Victoria Nuland, the US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, has recently offered to assist India in developing and modernizing its domestic defense sector.
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After all, the United States did not change its geopolitical theater from Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific for no reason. India has always been crucial in this situation, and not just because it is a member of the Quad security partnership. Such a large player necessitates Washington’s leniency.
Meanwhile, Russia and China are possibly reading too much into India’s neutrality on Ukraine, seeing it as a chance to sever ties with Washington. While the other two BRICS countries, Brazil and South Africa, have also maintained a neutral posture, it is improbable that India would wish to join any anti-Western alliance considering its recent pro-US orientation.
New Delhi’s top priority with China is to stabilize its borders, as recurrent flare-ups have stranded thousands of troops. That means putting a stop to what has basically been a low-intensity border conflict in the Himalayas with China.
With the exception of one or two militarily strategic locations, India has effectively won the argument with China that any normalized ties must be predicated on restoring the established order before the 2020 confrontation. Although a definitive solution is improbable any time soon, Beijing cannot afford to antagonize Indians by increasing border pressure at this moment.
India has been purchasing cheap oil, fertilisers, and other goods from Russia, which is thirsty for buyers due to historic Western sanctions, at a time when global inflation is out of control. It is remarkable to see how the US government has gone to such lengths to argue that the oil transactions are legitimate and do not violate sanctions.
But, as a pariah state, keeping good relations with Russia requires more than opportunism or realpolitik. As the fundamental reason of the war in Ukraine, several Indians are significantly more critical of US and Nato expansion.
They have a positive history with Russia, recalling that the Soviets supported New Delhi throughout the 1950s, when the Western powers favored Islamabad. Even after the Soviet Union fell apart, Russia remained a dependable arms provider.
A combination of underlying international power shifts, with China and Russia at odds with the United States and the West, has placed India in a favorable position to reap the benefits, at least for the time being.