Indian PM Narendra Modi’s Russia trip makes Western nations jealous

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, Vinay Kwatra, Russia, G7, Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, Joe Biden, Democratic Party, Zelensky, BRICS, BRICS+ Summit

Before arriving in Moscow for a two-day official visit, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated, “I look forward to reviewing all aspects of bilateral cooperation with my friend President Vladimir Putin and sharing perspectives on various regional and global issues”.

Western nations are “jealously” monitoring the visit.

The Russian news agency TASS quoted Modi as saying, “The special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia has advanced over the past ten years, including in the areas of energy, security, trade, investment, health, education, culture, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges”.

Earlier, on July 7, 2024, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated, “They [the West] are jealous, which means they are watching closely. Watching closely means they attach great importance [to the visit]. And here, they are not mistaken; there is indeed great significance”.

Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, in a media briefing, said, “Russia and India will assess the status of bilateral engagements in groupings such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Group of 20, the BRICS bloc of developing nations, the United Nations, and the East Asia Summit”.

“The issue of the early discharge of Indian nationals who have been misled into the service of the Russian army is also expected to figure in the discussions”, Kwatra added.

In choosing Russia for his first bilateral visit after being sworn in, Modi has broken with the tradition of India’s new Prime Ministers traveling first to a neighboring country, a template that he followed in both June 2014 (Bhutan) and June 2019 (Maldives and Sri Lanka). He traveled to Italy last month, but that was for a multilateral meeting of G7 leaders.

During the G7 summit, Ukraine’s tenure-expired President Volodymyr Zelensky met Modi and expressed his eagerness for New Delhi’s role in resolving the Russia-Ukraine conflict. It may be mentioned here that Zelensky, although desperately trying to hide the truth about Ukraine losing the war and soon running out of soldiers, is secretly and frantically trying to end the war immediately after the November 5 election in the United States, especially if Joe Biden is either defeated or stopped by the Democratic Party from finally getting the party’s nomination.

Zelensky’s nervousness intensified when Donald Trump openly said Ukraine is losing the war and hinted that he would stop the flood of aid amounting to billions of dollars to Ukraine.

According to media reports, another key factor behind Modi’s trip is BRICS, as Russia is the chair of the bloc and will be hosting the BRICS+ Summit, where several countries are expected to be included as members. Last year, when Bangladesh’s willingness to join BRICS did not materialize, the ultra-Islamist and Al Qaeda-connected Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) started spreading rumors that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was unwilling to let Dhaka join this important bloc of developing nations in the Global South.

Experts say, Bangladesh’s desire to join BRICS may not succeed unless Dhaka gets support from several key member states of the bloc, which include Russia, China, India, Brazil, and South Africa.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has arrived in China on a 4-day official visit at the invitation of Premier Li Qiang.

Commenting on this visit, Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Lao Yen stated in an article, “This visit is of historic significance, as it will enable the two sides to build on past achievements and forge bilateral relations in the future. During the visit, Sheikh Hasina will hold meetings with and call on Chinese leaders. The visit will inject vibrant impetus into bilateral relations and cooperation in various fields and help make new achievements in the China-Bangladesh strategic partnership of cooperation and elevate bilateral ties to new heights”.

Ambassador Yen further said, “Bangladesh has transformed from one of the poorest countries into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, leading South Asian countries in terms of life expectancy, literacy, and female labor force participation rate, performing what is popularly called the ‘Bay of Bengal Miracle’ and becoming one of the leaders in the Global South”.

Earlier, during a press meeting in Dhaka regarding Bangladesh’s desire to join BRICS, Ambassador Yao Wen expressed China’s support, hoping Bangladesh will become a BRICS member soon.

Commenting on the Indian Prime Minister’s Russia trip, Damsana Ranadhiran, geopolitical analyst and research scholar at the Center for Strategic Studies and Research (CSSR), said, “In this highly polarized world where Western nations are frantically trying to maintain their dominance over every country, including those in the Global South, New Delhi has been playing smart diplomacy by balancing its relations between the United States and Russia.

“On one hand, while India is a member of the QUAD bloc, it is also an important member of BRICS. Following Russia’s special military operations in Ukraine, Washington and Moscow are almost competing to strengthen relations with New Delhi. For India, while it is essential to maintain a strong relationship with the United States, as both Washington and New Delhi consider Beijing their arch-rival, it cannot ignore the importance of Russia in today’s world. Although it knows Russia cannot be tagged into an anti-China bloc, Narendra Modi will try to keep Russia from deepening its relationship with China further”.

It may be mentioned here that although New Delhi is not openly supporting Russia’s special military operations in Ukraine, it has continued economic activities with Russia, defying Western sanctions. On Washington’s part, New Delhi’s continuation of economic interactions with Moscow is quite uncomfortable. The US administration does not want to put pressure on India with sanctions as such an attempt would backfire and push India totally into the axis of Russia and China.

New Delhi has upheld strong ties with Moscow despite persistent Western scrutiny over the Ukraine conflict. Bilateral trade reached US$65 billion last year, primarily driven by India’s increased purchases of discounted Russian coal and oil.

Earlier this month, New Delhi declined to sign the final document at the Swiss Peace Summit on the Ukraine conflict due to Russia’s exclusion from the event. The Indian leadership emphasized that any resolution should be achieved through dialogue and diplomacy and agreed upon by both parties. Additionally, India has abstained from UN resolutions condemning Russia over Ukraine. For these particular reasons, Narendra Modi is considered an important ally by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia underscores India’s strategic balancing act between global powers, it highlights New Delhi’s commitment to maintaining strong ties with Moscow despite Western scrutiny. The evolving dynamics of international relations demand a nuanced approach, and India’s ability to navigate these complexities positions it as a key player on the global stage. Modi’s diplomatic efforts reflect India’s broader strategy to foster cooperation and dialogue, reinforcing its role as a mediator in international conflicts and a promoter of multipolarity in global governance. Through this visit, India reaffirms its strategic autonomy and its dedication to advancing its national interests while contributing to global peace and stability.

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