Putin and Modi deepen “privileged strategic partnership” despite Western pressure

Ahmed Adel, Cairo-based geopolitics and political economy researcher

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently discussed cooperation in investment, energy, agriculture, and transport and logistics. Yet, despite this positive step in relations building, the CIA is attempting to disrupt Russian-Indian relations by implanting fake news, something it has done for the entirety of 2022.  

According to a Kremlin statement, Putin and Modi expressed in a phone conversation on December 16 their “satisfaction with the high level of bilateral cooperation that has been developing on the basis of the Russian-Indian privileged strategic partnership.” They also noted the importance of maintaining close coordination on international platforms, including the G20 and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

At Modi’s own request, Putin briefed him on Russia’s policy regarding Ukraine. The Indian leader reiterated his call for dialogue and diplomacy as the only way forward regarding the Ukraine crisis, according to a statement on his official website.

Western media and officials are attempting to link Modi’s call for diplomacy as a potential rift in relations with Putin, but official statements from the Russian and Indian sides make it clear that bilateral relations dominated the conversation and not the war in Ukraine. Despite the facts, it did not stop CIA Chief William Burns from claiming only days later that Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping had impacted the Russian decision on whether to use nuclear weapons or not. 

“I think it has also been very useful that Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi in India have also raised their concerns about the use of nuclear weapons as well. I think that’s also having an impact on the Russians,” William Burns said during an interview with PBS, adding that he does not see any clear evidence today of Russia’s plans to use tactical nuclear weapons and that it was only intimidation through sabre-rattling.

This comes as Putin acknowledged that the war in Ukraine could continue for a while and said that Moscow will not “brandish” nuclear weapons “like a razor.”

Speaking at a meeting of Russia’s Human Rights Council at the Kremlin, the Russian president said: “With regard to the protracted nature of the special military operation and its results, of course, it’s going to take a while, perhaps.”

He also alleged that the US placed a large number of its nuclear weapons on European soil, while Russia had no such plan to transfer nuclear weapons outside of its territory. Putin also stressed that Russia “will protect its allies with all the means at its disposal, if necessary.”

The Russian president added that his country possesses more modern and advanced weapons compared to other nuclear nations, but emphasised that Russia will only strike with nuclear weapons in response, “That is, when we are struck, we strike in response. But we are not going to brandish these weapons like a razor, running around the world.”

Although it has long been established that Russia never planned to use nuclear weapons on the Ukrainian battlefield, except in cases of retaliation and existential threats, the Western disinformation apparatus, including the CIA, are naively believing that conjuring fake news and attributing them to India can change the facts and reality on the ground – Moscow and New Delhi are seeing a revitalisation in their already strong relations.

None-the-less, there is a medium- and long-term view for the Russian-Indian relationship that obviously goes far beyond the current conflict in Ukraine. For this reason, New Delhi’s long-standing ties with Moscow will not be derailed by Western sanctions and pressure. 

Russia has been forced to reorientate its economy towards the Asian region because of Western sanctions, and this presents huge opportunities for India. It was never expected in 2021 that Russia would overtake Iraq and Saudi Arabia to become the largest supplier of oil to India, but as said, Western sanctions have created opportunities for India as Russian crude is now at advantageous prices and terms.

Reuters reported that India purchased about 40% of all export volumes of Russian Urals grade oil transported by sea in November – European countries accounted for 25%, Turkey 15% and China 5%. In November, Russia supplied 909,000.4 barrels of crude oil to India per day, Iraq supplied 861,000.4 barrels and Saudi Arabia supplied 570,000.9 barrels.

Russia has also emerged as India’s seventh largest trading partner, rising from a paltry 25th place. This means that the imbalance in bilateral trade is widening. However, to alleviate this, Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar recently visited Moscow to discuss a list of 500 items that Russia would be keen to source from India. Given the supply chain challenges Russian industry has faced since the imposition of sanction, Jaishankar reportedly stressed India’s readiness to supply spare parts for airplanes, cars and trains.

In this way, Russia and India work collectively to develop their economies and provide the best opportunities and deals for their citizens. This was once again demonstrated by Modi’s recent conversation with Putin. However, it also shows the desperation the West has in dismantling this relationship, with the CIA chief being the latest protagonist to disseminate fake news, this time by claiming that Modi discouraged Putin from plans to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, plans that the Russian president never had to begin with.

Source: InfoBrics

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