Analysis of Sansad TV Discussion: ”Impact of Russia-Ukraine Crisis on India”
”GS 2: Bilateral Groupings & Agreements, Effect of Policies & Politics of Countries on India’s Interests”
- Russia launched what’s being called its largest military exercise since the Cold War on Thursday, holding joint maneuvers with Belarus.
- The timing and position of the exercise have raised concerns in Ukraine, the U.S. and NATO countries.
- NATO-the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries are also deploying troops to their Eastern flank countries-like Romania and Poland.
What is the latest development?
- In the latest development, Russia has started 10 days of joint military drills with close ally Belarus, which has a long border with Ukraine.
- The Ukrainian capital is located just about 75 miles south of the border with Belarus, and the West fears that Russia could use Belarusian territory to invade Ukraine.
- Ukraine has termed it “psychological pressure”.
- France, which is trying to broker peace through negotiations with both countries, has also called the drills as a “violent gesture” by Russia.
- UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called it the biggest security crisis in decades.
- The US has warned that an attack from Russia could come at any time.
What is Russia’s Stand?
- Although Russia has repeatedly denied any plans to invade Ukraine. While diplomatic efforts are underway.
- NATO also has stepped up the deployment of troops to bolster the alliance’s eastern flank.
- The US has begun to move the 2nd Cavalry Regiment’s stryker squadron from Vilseck, Germany, to Romania, which borders Ukraine.
- About 1,700 US soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division are going to Poland and about half have now arrived, with more expected to flow in during the coming days.
- Britain also has pledged to send 350 more troops to Poland and already has sent anti-tank weapons to Ukraine.
What is India’s Stand?
- After remaining quiet for more than a month- India made two statements last week on the Russa- Ukraine tensions- appealing for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis.
- At the United Nations, India abstained from a procedural vote on whether to discuss the situation-a vote that Russia lost- with a U.S.-led group of 10 countries agreeing to the discussion.
- India’s vote was seen as a play to both sides, but it came after Russia-India consultations in Delhi, and was seen as a tilt towards Moscow.
Which are India’s main concerns?
1. World War scenario
Any conflict- where the U.S. and its European allies are ranged against Russia will impact the whole world- economically and in terms of security, and India, as a partner to both Moscow and Washington will either have to take sides or be prepared to deal with unhappiness from both sides.
2. S-400 delivery and US waiver
The crisis comes precisely as India’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system is under way- and New Delhi hopes for a waiver of U.S. sanctions on this. Conflict will complicate both the delivery of the system, and the possibility of a presidential waiver.
3. Moves focus from China
Just as U.S. and Europe had grown more focussed on their Indo-Pacific strategy that puts India centre-stage, and India grapples with Chinese aggression and land-grab at the Line of Actual Control, and 100,000 troops along the boundary on both sides, the world’s attention is diverted from China to Russia.
4. Brings Russia-China closer
The Crisis will make Moscow more dependent on friends like China, and build a regional bloc of sorts that India is not a part of. In Beijing this week, the future seems evident- as India has announced a diplomatic and political boycott of the Olympic games- while Putin, Central Asian Presidents, and Pakistan PM Imran Khan are all in Beijing to stand in solidarity with Xi Jinping.
5. Energy crisis
In any conflict- Europe worries Russia will turn down gas and oil supplies- driving energy prices up. Already tensions have pushed oil prices up 14% in a month past $90 and analyst say they could hit $125 a barrel if the situation is not resolved.
6. Indians in Ukraine
As India’s UN envoy pointed out in his speech- India has more than 20,000 nationals in Ukraine, mostly medical students, as well as business professionals in the field of pharma, IT and engineering- and the government is concerned about their safety in the event of a crisis, although MEA says it is not at present evacuating citizens.
India has to consider how any conflict will change the regional allegiances and the balance of power in its own neighbourhood carefully.