India's Ties With Russia Remain Steady. But Moscow's Tighter Embrace of China Makes It Wary

Since Moscow invaded Ukraine, it has grown close to Beijing, raising critical national security concerns for New Delhi.

India's Ties With Russia Remain Steady. But Moscow's Tighter Embrace of China Makes It Wary

India and Russia's relationship remains strong as both sides strive to increase their economic engagements.

Observers say that since the invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has grown closer to Beijing, which is a cause for concern in New Delhi.

India's leaders "carefully watch" as Russia grows more isolated and closes in on "China's Corner," according to Harsh V.Pant, vice president of studies and foreign policy for Observer Research Foundation.

Sreeramchaulia said that the relationship has "gone from being a high-value strategic one to a transactional partnership," adding that Moscow's "tighter embrace of China", does not bode well for India’s national security.

India and Russia's relationship remains strong as both sides strive to strengthen their economic ties. Moscow, however, has grown closer to Beijing after the invasion of Ukraine. This raises serious national security concerns for New Delhi.

S. Jaishankar, the Indian minister of external affairs, recently stated that India was prepared to resume free trade negotiations with Russia.

"Our partnership is the subject of comment and attention today, not because we have changed, but simply because it remains unchanged,"

He said

The relationship is described as "amongst the most stable" in the entire world.

Russia wants to be included in the list.

Intensify free trade talks with India

Denis Manturov, the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, said this during his visit to Delhi. Manturov also serves as Moscow's Trade Minister.

India's leaders, despite the economic cooperation they have shown, are "carefully monitoring" as Russia is increasingly isolated and gets closer to "China’s corner," according to Harsh V.Pant, vice president of studies and foreign policy for Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.

India will be concerned about Russia's "weak position and vulnerability" as well as its growing dependence on China, for both economic and strategic purposes, according to CNBC.

Pant said that it's getting "more difficult every day" because of the growing closeness between Beijing and Moscow. India would certainly not want to see this happen.

Pant said that New Delhi would do everything possible to avoid any potential "alliance or axis" between Russia and China. As that would have far-reaching consequences and fundamentally change India's strategic calculus and foreign policy.

There are

National interest

Sreeram Chulia said, "This FTA is a part of why India continues to trade with Russia and buy cheap Russian crude oil," he added.

He noted that "this relationship appears to be going from a very valuable strategic partnership into a transactional one", adding that Moscow's "tighter embrace" of China doesn't bode too well for India's needs in terms of national security.

India, the current G-20 president, has not condemned

Russia and its

Invasion of Ukraine

A reliable partner?

The latest issue of the magazine,

Foreign policy doctrine

In a report published at the end of March, Russia stated that it would "continue to develop a strategic partnership with India which is particularly privileged".

New Delhi has had a long-standing relationship with Moscow since the Cold War. It is still

Kremlin is heavily dependent

For its military equipment. Defense cooperation is essential.

Tensions in India along the Himalayan border

Pant, of ORF, says that China is becoming more assertive.

But Russia hasn’t been able deliver

critical defense supplies

Analysts said that the Ukraine conflict could cause a strain in the relationship between India and the United States.

In March,

The Indian Armed Forces

In a report, a member of a parliamentary panel acknowledged that "major deliveries" from Russia "will not take place". The IAF official stated that "they have written us to say they are not capable of delivering it". The report didn't mention any specifics about the delivery.

"Russia has already delayed the

Delivery of S-400

Chaulia, from the Jindal School, said that the Ukraine conflict had pushed India to send anti-missile systems. "So there's a question mark over Russia's reliability."

India's dependence on Moscow was historically seen as crucial "to moderate China's aggressiveness," he said, in order to maintain a balance of power between Beijing and New Delhi.

The country can no longer expect Russia to continue to play the same role in India that it did before the Ukraine conflict. He said that this is due to the technological degradation and weakness of their military as a result the war.

'No limits' partnership

Pant said that Indian authorities would continue to "make every effort until the last minute" to "create some space" in the Russia-China dynamics, so "that the space could [be] exploited by India, to ensure its influence over Moscow remains intact."

China has also taken steps to improve its relationship with Russia. In March, Chinese president Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Moscow. The two leaders vowed that they would continue to strengthen their ties.

Deepening their relationship

Both sides seal a

"no limits" partnership

In February of last year, just before Russia invaded Ukraine, the two countries agreed that there would be no areas of "forbidden cooperation".

Felix K. Chang of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, a think tank, said that a "Russian tilt" towards Beijing would be "clearly bad for India" should war break out between India and China.

Even without a conflict, "China’s warm relationship" with Russia may encourage Beijing to pursue more aggressively its interests in South Asia. This could be on the disputed Himalayan Border or with India's neighbors.

He wrote it in April.

This could also lead to increased tensions in the region and a shift in the power balance between China, India and other countries.

Chang said that India must "pick up pace" when it comes to its embrace of the West "given the closeness between China and Russia due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict."

The U.S.

Pant, ORF, stated that the West understands the challenges India faces in Indo-Pacific, and "that it requires Moscow to manage Beijing in the short-to-medium term, given its defence relationship with Russia."

He said that despite the differences about Ukraine, the Western outreach towards India is driven by a concern for national security.

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, and his counterparts in Australia and Japan will be attending the event.

The third Quad Leaders Summit

Sydney, Australia - May 24,


The Quad is a quadrangle

informal security

The four major democracies aligned themselves in response to China’s growing strength in the Indo-Pacific.

The United States sees China as the biggest threat to U.S. global dominance, but it doesn't see India in that light, said Rajan Menon. He is the director of Defense Priorities' grand strategy program, a Washington think tank.

He noted that "India is not seen as a counterbalance to China, but rather as a partner."

Menon stated that "this overlap of strategic interests explains why Washington did not react to India's alliance with Moscow the same way it has responded to the friendship China has formed with Russia, which is a 'no limits' relationship."

Pant noted that Russia's biggest test will be how it balances the evolving India-China dynamics.

It will be interesting to watch how this triangle functions. He noted that in the past it worked because the three countries were all on the same page about a multipolar universe, with the United States as the main target.

"Today for India, the attempt by China to create hegemony is the target. Pant said that Russia and China have different priorities than India. New Delhi will examine Russia's ability "to manage India and China" in the future.