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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Revitalising India-Russia Partnership

In 1971, India signed the 'Treaty of Peace, Friendship, and Cooperation' with the Soviet Union, establishing a strategic partnership that extended beyond the agreement's face value. During the Bangladesh liberation war, the Soviet Union demonstrated its support by resisting the deployment of the American warship "Seventh Fleet" in the Bay of Bengal, which intended to aid Pakistan. Consequently, India achieved victory over Pakistan, leading to the creation of Bangladesh. The Soviet Union, and subsequently Russia, consistently supported India's stance on the Kashmir issue, countering Western pressure.

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In recent times, India’s foreign policy choices have come under scrutiny, particularly its neutral stance on the sanctions imposed on Russia following the Ukraine war. Critics worldwide have raised eyebrows over India’s claim as a protagonist of the non-alignment movement and its unwavering support for national sovereignty. However, these developments signify a pragmatic shift in India’s foreign policy, reflecting the need to adapt to the evolving global political landscape and forge partnerships based on mutual interests. India’s historically strong relationship with Russia, which had waned after the collapse of the Soviet Union, has experienced a renaissance. This has led to raised eyebrows regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s affinity for authoritarian leaders such as President Vladimir Putin, former President Donald Trump, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. India’s close ties with Russia were originally forged on the basis of the latter’s unwavering support, especially during confrontations with Pakistan and other Western nations. Notably, when India militarily reclaimed its own territory of Goa, Daman, and Diu from Portuguese occupation in 1961, the Soviet Union lent its support, despite severe criticism from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Turkey.

In 1971, India signed the ‘Treaty of Peace, Friendship, and Cooperation’ with the Soviet Union, establishing a strategic partnership that extended beyond the agreement’s face value. During the Bangladesh liberation war, the Soviet Union demonstrated its support by resisting the deployment of the American warship “Seventh Fleet” in the Bay of Bengal, which intended to aid Pakistan. Consequently, India achieved victory over Pakistan, leading to the creation of Bangladesh. The Soviet Union, and subsequently Russia, consistently supported India’s stance on the Kashmir issue, countering Western pressure. In 1955, the Soviet Union openly declared its support for Kashmir’s sovereignty, undermining Pakistan’s claims. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev famously stated, “We are so near that if you even call us from mountain tops, we will appear at your side.” The Soviet Union exercised its veto power three times at the UN Security Council (in 1957, 1962, and 1971) to prevent international intervention in the Jammu and Kashmir issue, emphasizing that it was a bilateral matter.

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The recent significance of India-Russia relations lies in India’s support for Russia during the Ukraine conflict. India abstained from voting against Russia in the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council. While political and economic relations between the two nations faltered after the Soviet Union’s collapse, defense ties remained strong. From 2016 to 2022, Russia accounted for approximately 45 percent of India’s military hardware imports, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Moreover, the trade between India and Russia experienced a revival after the Ukraine war and subsequent sanctions. In 2022-23, Russia became India’s fifth-largest trading partner, with total trade increasing by 468 percent. India’s renewed trade relations with Russia, even with a trade imbalance, carry immense significance amidst global uncertainty in oil prices. With over 90 percent of its oil energy imported, India relies heavily on foreign sources. Russian crude, with its discounted prices, has proven instrumental in sustaining India’s growth, particularly as OPEC threats of production cuts expose the vulnerability of oil prices. The revitalization of India-Russia relations demonstrates India’s pragmatic approach to aligning its foreign policy with global political dynamics. By leveraging its historic ties with Russia, India seeks to strengthen strategic partnerships and secure its energy interests.

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The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
Welcome to The Hills Times, your trusted source for daily news and updates in English from the heart of Assam, India. Since our establishment in 2000, we've been dedicated to providing timely and accurate information to our readers in Diphu and Guwahati. As the first English newspaper in the then undemarcated Karbi Anglong district, we've forged a strong connection with diverse communities and age groups, earning a reputation for being a reliable source of news and insights. In addition to our print edition, we keep pace with the digital age through our website, https://thehillstimes.in, where we diligently update our readers with the latest happenings day by day. Whether it's local events, regional developments, or global news, The Hills Times strives to keep you informed with dedication and integrity. Join us in staying ahead of the curve and exploring the world through our lens.
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