cover image: India-Russia Relations in Troubled Times: Steady but Stagnating


India-Russia Relations in Troubled Times: Steady but Stagnating

7 May 2024

This paper examines the trajectory of India-Russia relations post-February 2022. The war in Ukraine emerged as a significant challenge for bilateral ties, presenting new obstacles to political and diplomatic relations and intensifying the previous difficulties in developing economic cooperation. Moscow and New Delhi have demonstrated divergent approaches to the advancement of their strategic partnership. While Russia has rushed into reinventing the old friendship with India, the latter has acted with greater discretion. New Delhi has demonstrated a nuanced approach to navigating the Russia-Ukraine conflict, staying on good terms with Moscow and the West. India’s record imports of Russian crude and other commodities, at times in defiance of Western sanctions, have allowed for a considerable boost in bilateral trade. While this “oil connection” may benefit both the Indian and Russian economies, it should not be misperceived as a leap forward in partnership. The structural challenges appear to still prevent the two sides from reinvigorating the economic ties. Furthermore, their geopolitical understanding is waning, and their defense cooperation is currently in a state of limbo. As long as the war in Ukraine persists, India seems to be prioritizing maintaining the status quo in its relationship with Russia over pursuing new initiatives. This may help to prevent the two sides from drifting apart too far in the near term but is unlikely to lead to any substantive progress in their relationship.
russian foreign policy asia vladimir putin narendra modi indian foreign policy india and south asia russia / eurasia india-russia relations



Published in
Asie.Visions, No. 140, Ifri, May 2024

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