Russia-Ukraine: As clouds of war loom, India seeks to balance ties with US and Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his Defense Ministry to send peacekeepers to the region to protect it from a possible Ukrainian attack.

Russia has recognized the “sovereignty” of Luhansk and Donetsk. These two regions had declared their independence from Ukraine in 2014. Russia insisted on the implementation of the Minsk agreement which guaranteed autonomy to the Donbass region. But Kiev failed to go further with the proposal. However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky miscalculated this decision assuming that NATO would dissuade Russia from taking action. Ukraine is paying the price for NATO’s tepid engagement. The Western threat of sanctions is not enough to dissuade Russia from declaring the two regions as independent states. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his Defense Ministry to send peacekeepers to the region to protect it from a possible Ukrainian attack.

In his speech last night, President Putin insisted on two points: Russia’s historic role in the creation of the Ukrainian state over the past two centuries and the ulterior motives of NATO expansion. to the east. “Russia is not prepared to accept Ukraine’s sovereignty insofar as it can choose to join NATO”, explains an expert.

Sharing his point of view with Financial express online, Professor Rajan Kumar, School of International Studies, JNU, says: “France, Germany and the United States have condemned the Russian recognition as ‘a unilateral violation of Russia’s international commitments and an attack on the sovereignty of Ukraine”. They are likely to impose severe sanctions on Russia and raise the issue in the UN Security Council. President Putin seemed ready to bear high economic costs for Russia’s security.

President Putin has rolled the dice and the decision cannot be reversed now.

“With new developments, Europe has entered a new phase of insecurity and crisis. The Minsk II agreement no longer makes sense today. France and Germany have lost their credibility as negotiators. They will be under pressure to take tough action against Russia.

Ukraine will never accept Russia’s decision to recognize its territories as sovereign states. If he sought to reconquer the Donbass region by force, war was inevitable. Politics in Ukraine and Russia will become more conservative with the influence of security forces in decision-making,” Prof. Rajan believes.

Will the current situation have an impact on Western negotiations on Iran and Afghanistan?

Yes. “On a broader level, developments in Ukraine will have a direct bearing on ongoing Western negotiations on Iran and Afghanistan. Russia will be much more assertive and rigid in its positions on these issues. NATO’s failure to take decisive action against Russia will encourage China to ignore US threats in Taiwan and the South China Sea. New Delhi will find it increasingly difficult to protect its interests. Moscow will become much more dependent on Beijing in the years to come. We can expect a military agreement between the two powers very soon,” says Professor Rajan.

Impact on India – Indian Army veteran’s view

If Russia invaded Ukraine, what impact would it have on India? Can it remain neutral but at what price?

Here are some questions Col Rajinder Singh (Retired) answered while sharing his perspective with Financial express online.

“Its handling will be severely affected. The question therefore has very broad ramifications, at the border of military, economic, strategic and geopolitical connotations. Its impact would be worse than that of Covid-19. India would be caught between old trusted friends, Russia on one side and a newly acquired strategic partner, the United States on the other.

How should he maintain a balance between the two?

“It will not only lead to bitter relations with the two opposing blocs, but also to isolate India in the community of nations. global player,” says Col Singh, renowned author and defense analyst.

Militarily speaking

According to the former Indian army officer, “the war in Ukraine would seriously affect India’s defense and security. First, it would delay or stifle Russian military hardware, like the S-400 air defense system, needed by India’s defense forces. Russia may refuse to supply other accessories for weapon systems acquired in the past. Even France and the United States would be annoyed by Indian neutrality and stop continuing to supply weapons imported from them. Unavailability of reserve supply would undoubtedly impact military capabilities.

Second, “With US and Western attention engaged with Russia and Ukraine, China may wish to exploit the situation to capture Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) – Siachen region in eastern Ladakh to back up its CPEC project. Pakistan could join China in this military adventure. A two-front war could disadvantage India due to reduced military capabilities. In such a scenario, no one can guess what would happen to J&K?”

The economic impact is much more serious

“There is no point in saying that the West and the United States would impose sanctions on Russia, it would have an impact on the supply of gas to the EU from Russia. The United States being benevolent towards the ‘Europe, they will force Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries in the Middle East to divert their oil exports to Europe. military capabilities. In addition, multinationals from the United States and the West could withdraw their invested funds from Indian markets, further hampering economic growth,” Col Singh said.

In his opinion, “poor economic conditions and reduced military capabilities could strengthen the spirit of J&K separatists in the northeast. There is a danger of destabilization of India, leading to secessionist movements. This may sound like a far-fetched argument, but the possibility cannot be ruled out. »

Finally, “India must pray that Russia does not invade Ukraine because it threatens to start a world war. It has serious repercussions on the unity of India. This is why India must become autonomous (Aatma Nirbhar) in terms of defense capabilities and hope that the Ukrainian crisis is resolved,” concludes Colonel Singh.

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