While the process of shifting away from Russia would not happen “all at once,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted on February 23 that nations such as India and South Africa, which have yet to join the West in denouncing Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, were likely on a path in that direction.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the West has encouraged India to break relations with Moscow. India has so far resisted this pressure because of its historical links to Russia and its reliance on oil.
Because the Ukrainian crisis dominated this week’s big international stage, India aggressively pushed the necessity for diplomacy to resolve the issue and publicly expressed its views on the Kyiv-Moscow disagreement. S. Jaishankar, India’s Minister of Foreign Affairs (MEA), indicated that India will defend the UN Charter and its essential values in the present Russia-Ukraine crisis.
Speaking at the 77th UN General Assembly (UNGA) on September 24, Jaishankar said, “We are often asked whose side we are on.” And our answer, each time, is straight and honest. India is on the side ofpeace and will remain firmly there.
Meanwhile, Blinken has stated that India’s departure from Russia will take time.
“There are countries that have long-standing, decades-long relationships with Russia—with the Soviet Union before—that are challenging to break off in one fell swoop. “It’s not flipping a light switch; it’s moving an aircraft carrier,” Blinken said in an interview with The Atlantic.
Russia has been India’s primary military supplier since the Soviet period. Yet, in recent years, the US has pushed to entice India away from its traditional military supplier. With concerns about Russian supply interruptions caused by the Ukraine conflict, New Delhi is working feverishly to modernise its mostly Soviet-era fighter aircraft fleet in order to strengthen its air force.
“India for decades had Russia at the core of providing military equipment to it and its defenses, but what we’ve seen over the last few years is a trajectory away from relying on Russia and moving into partnership with us and other countries,” Blinken said on the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion.