The Story: On March 2nd, the United Nations adopted a resolution to condemn Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine. Among the 35 countries that abstained, India was the largest Democracy to do so. India has been towing a fine line on this issue, usually going to the point of calling for the end of the war, and then mostly stopping. There are many reasons for India’s neutrality. Chiefly among them is India’s heavy reliance on Russian weapons. Speaking out heavily against Russia might lead to a cease of weapon transfers, which would severely hurt India’s national security in terms of combating aggression from countries like Pakistan and China. However, this doesn’t seem to be a good choice for India either. For example, at the “Quadrilateral Security Dialogue” meeting, Biden noted India’s abstention, and followed it up by saying that most major countries were united against Russia. Furthermore, American “Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs”, Donald Lu said that Biden was still thinking of sanctioning India over a weapons deal with Russia, and its earlier abstentions. However, for now, India remains firmly in the neutral zone. India has even started buying more oil from Russia because their prices are now lower, due to less countries buying Russian oil.
Our Take: You will be getting two very different viewpoints on India’s actions, depending on which was your looking at it. If you’re looking at these events from India’s perspective, then yes, trying not to anger your number one arms deal is a pretty good deal. Plus, India has the incentive of good oil deals. If you look at it from the westside, then you wouldn’t be too pleased with India, as it makes American (and generally NATO) sanctions more bearable for the Kremlin. All in all India’s neutral position could lead to it being more isolated, an example of this being that Germany is considering not inviting India to the G-7.