A majority of Indians have a positive opinion of Russia and President Vladimir Putin, a survey of 24 countries by the Washington-based Pew Research Center has revealed. Respondents also underlined the importance of access to affordable energy.
Some 59% of Indians expressed confidence in the Russian president to do the right thing regarding world affairs, according to the poll. This compared to an average of just 12% among respondents in other countries.
A total of 57% of people in India have a positive view of Russia and more than 40% believe that Moscow’s global influence has increased in recent years, the data shows. “India is the only country surveyed where a majority has a favorable view of the country – including 23% of Indians who see Russia very favorably – and is one of two countries where ratings for Russia have become more favorable in recent years,” the research center said.
The results revealed that 71% of Indians said maintaining access to Russia’s oil and gas reserves was more important than being “tough with Russia on Ukraine.”
The Spring 2023 Global Attitudes Survey released on August 29 was conducted between February and May, questioning more than 30,000 people in 24 countries ahead of the G20 leaders’ summit in New Delhi. The aim of the research was to gather views about India and its prime minister, and explore the perceptions of Indians about their own country and other nations.
The United States is also seen more favorably in India (65%) than in any other of the countries surveyed, the research paper noted. Over 70% of respondents in India believe US foreign policy had taken their country’s interests into account, and the same proportion said the US contributes to peace and stability around the world.
However, roughly two-thirds of adults in India believe the US interferes in the affairs of other countries, while 20% of Indian respondents considered that American movies, television and music the “worst.”
Meanwhile, India emerged the only middle-income country surveyed in which a majority (67%) has unfavorable views of China. Some 48% of respondents also said they had no confidence in Chinese President Xi Jinping.
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The study revealed that 68% of Indians believe their country’s global influence has grown in recent years. However, just 28% of respondents from 19 countries that were also surveyed last year thought the same of New Delhi. While nearly eight in ten Indians have a favorable opinion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a median of 37% in 12 other middle-income countries reported having lost confidence in the Indian leader.
Opinions of India are most positive in Israel, where 71% said they had a favorable view of the country. Other nations in which India was viewed positively were Kenya, Nigeria and the United Kingdom, where at least six in ten people said they had a favorable opinion.
In the US, Canada and most of the European countries, the views were mixed with an average of 46% surveyed having a favorable view of India, compared with a median of 34% reporting an unfavorable view. The study further noted that favorable views of India had declined by roughly 10 percentage points or more in some European countries, including France, Spain, Germany, and Poland, although the last time data was collected was in 2008.