He Sets An Example
Once again, Russian President Vladimir Putin has set an example on how to get the job done quietly. He recently arrived in India, did his job and returned to Russia, thus, setting an example what could be done in just 22 hours without making any noise. In the presence of President Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the foreign ministers of the two countries signed a contract on October 5 on the basis of which New Delhi would receive five S-400 Triumf missile defence systems from Moscow. However, the two heads of the state didn’t say much about the crucial deal during the joint press conference. To quietly accomplish diplomatic missions is an age-old Russian practice. President Putin’s recent visit to India was no exception. However, there is another apparently invisible reason behind this policy this time. That is United States of America!
President Putin & PM Modi
The US was closely monitoring the Indo-Russian defence deal, as Washington had warned New Delhi not to sign such accord with Kremlin and also hinted that sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) could be applied against the South Asian nation, if New Delhi disregarded Washington’s advice. So, the circumstances prompted the visiting Russian president to maintain silence during his trip to India.
Although the deal was signed in a different atmosphere, no one could deny its multi-dimensional significance. Firstly, it’s a big deal as far as the financial value of the agreement is concerned. Apart from signing the USD 5 billion defence deal with India, Kremlin also agreed to set up an Indian monitoring station in southern Russian city of Novosibirsk and to assist India’s enterprise for a manned spaceflight by 2022. In fact, the two countries are trying hard to boost the volume of bilateral trade. For India, it became important to strengthen ties with ‘old friend’ Russia mainly because of the changing global geopolitical landscape. The Modi-Putin meeting in New Delhi has brought a breath of fresh air to India after a long time.
Secondly, India has invested time and labour to boost ties with the US in recent years. However, the latest defence deal with Russia has proved that New Delhi is well aware of the fact that it is necessary to maintain equidistance from Russia and the US. The Cold War days are no more, but the shadow of Cold War is still influencing the Indian foreign policy. In fact, Moscow and Washington influence the foreign policies of various Asian nations. This time, India ignored the US warning and signed the defence deal with Russia. By doing so, New Delhi has proved that it still has the guts and self-confidence to formulate independent foreign policies. It is to be noted that India prepared the independent policy to cement its ties with Russia just a month after signing the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement with the US. The development has certainly sent a strong (diplomatic) message to the global community.
The Modi government in New Delhi deserves credit for shaping the Indian foreign policy in such a way so that the South Asian nation gains a lot from both the US and Russia. So far, PM Modi’s foreign policy has been very much realistic and effective! It seems that the Indian PM knows not only the goal of his foreign policy, but also its limits.
As the Trump administration is concentrating on contract-based sanctions and not on nation-based sanctions, India will have to keep its cool and to safeguard its interests while dealing with major powers.
Perhaps, Modi inherited this quality from first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru, who, along with former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and former Yugoslav President Josef Tito, founded the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in 1961.
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