Over the last two years, relationship between Russia and India seems to be fading. The nearly 70-year relationship between is seeing more hiccups than ever, a little something that has India worried. Cherry on top is that Moscow seems to be aligning herself with India’s historical enemy, Pakistan. Many would argue, but Moscow and New Delhi have had better times compared to the past two years. Geopolitics is one of the primary reasons behind the fade. While the two have supported each other in the international community for years, Russia’s refusal to support India’s bid to turn Pakistan into a pariah state is seen as a major back from New Delhi on Moscow’s account.
Russia recently conducted military drills with Pakistan, the two have a major gas pipeline agreement, and just last week Moscow and Islamabad held their first-ever foreign office consultations. Russia is definitely sending a message and this has India understandably worried. Only last year, it was preposterous to believe that Russia would ever align itself with her Cold War rival Pakistan. Of course, the sentiments changed quickly when Moscow sold four Mi-35M helicopters to Islamabad.
Russia rejected India’s efforts in November when the latter tried to isolate Pakistan on an international level. India’s concerns regarding Moscow and Islamabad rose violently, pushed even further when Russia announced its plans for the $46 billion (now valued at $55 billion) China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Earlier this month, Alexey Dedov, the Russian Ambassador to Pakistan, declared Russia’s strong desire to become a part of the mega project. He also announced that Moscow wanted to link Eurasian Economic Union project with CPEC. But why the sudden shift away from India?
Well, to summarize, United States and China. Russia considers China as one of her greatest allies. China on the other hand is the traditional ally of Pakistan and therefore not particularly warm towards India. Warming up to Pakistan is more like a pre-requisite to be closer to China. As far as the United States is concerned, Russia’s bigger plan to end America’s global dominance starts with swaying away from India and siding with China. Also, the new generation in India favors the U.S. more than it does Russia. A survey by the Pew Research Center in 2015 revealed that close to 70% of Indians favor the United States while only 43% favored Russia. Why wouldn’t Moscow would shift away from a country that favors Russia’s biggest competitor?
Of course, Russia still remains one of the biggest weapons supplier to India. But that’s how economy works. The tensions between Moscow and New Delhi are far from hidden and so are India’s growing concerns. However, Russia does not understand why these concerns are emanating from India when the former never criticized the latter’s growing involvement with the United States. That’s exactly what Zamir Kabulov, Russian President’s Special Envoy on Afghanistan, reminded India. That Moscow never made any complaints about U.S.-India relationships on the matter of defense. India responded by putting the two alliances on two entirely different levels. In that, India’s relationship with the U.S. did not hurt Russia, while Russia’s cooperation with Pakistan threatened India directly.
India’s move to expand ties with the United States was met with little enthusiasm over at the Kremlin, which his part of the reason why Russia is looking to align itself with a new regional power, and it should not be a massive surprise for India.
There’s two things Russia can do at this stage – Stick with India alone and see the friendship fade, or find a more reliable partner in the region, and Russia seems to have made the choice in favor of Pakistan.You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ for more updates. Otherwise fill in the subscription box above, or subscribe to our RSS Feed.