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Russia welcomes India's 'independent and balanced' approach to Ukraine crisis as New Delhi equivocates

An internationally isolated Russia Wednesday welcomed India's "independent position" on the Ukraine crisis and said its views on the issue at the UN Security Council was reflective of the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two countries

Feb 23, 2022
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India-Russia

An internationally isolated Russia Wednesday welcomed India's "independent position" on the Ukraine crisis and said its views on the issue at the UN Security Council was reflective of the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two countries. Russian Deputy Chief of Mission Roman Babushkin said India has been playing a vital role as a responsible global power and it takes an "independent and balanced" approach to global affairs.

"We welcome the independent position of India which it took twice at the UN Security Council," he said at an online media briefing. "The Indian activities at the UN Security Council are fully reflecting the merit of our special and privileged strategic partnership," he added.

Amid escalating tension between Moscow and the West after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised two breakaway Ukrainian regions as independent states, and sent "peacekeeping" troops into its Donbas region, India at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Monday night called for "restraint on all sides".

It stressed that the immediate priority is "de-escalation of tensions" taking into account the legitimate security interests of all countries and aimed towards securing long term peace and stability in the region and beyond.

"Russia-India partnership is based on a strong and solid foundation. It is based on mutual trust," Babushkin said.

"Our cooperation does not represent any threat to anyone and at the same time we keep moving shoulder-to-shoulder to establish a just and equal multipolar world," he added, hoping that the intensity of India-Russia ties will continue at the same level.

India is dependent significantly on Russian military hardware and energy supplies and has been seeking to walk a tightrope in balancing the conflicting interests of Washington and Moscow in its quest for "strategic autonomy" in its foreign policy. 

Some Indian analysts have, however, been critical of the country's ambivalent approach to the crisis. Writing in the Times of India, Indrani Bagchi, a foreign policy commentator, said "India finds itself in a now-familiar uncomfortable spot" over its "ostrich foreign policy" and hesitancy in criticising Russia's "invasion" of Ukrainian territory. 

"Some Indian Russian-romantics believe Putin is trying to prevent another Pakistan from growing at its doorstep. But by the same token, Russia is doing exactly what Pakistan does in Afghanistan - seeking strategic depth, something that is anathema to India," Bagchi noted. 

(SAM)

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