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Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Modi and Putin Strengthen Strategic Ties Amid Global Tensions

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Moscow emphasized peace and dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin while strengthening economic and defense ties amidst global tensions.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow saw him emphasizing peace and dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “War cannot solve problems,” Modi stated firmly, underscoring the importance of peace for future generations. Modi landed in Moscow just hours after Russia’s bombing of Ukrainian cities, which killed over 40 people and severely damaged a children’s hospital in Kyiv, sparking global outrage.

Modi and Putin’s meeting included over four hours of open-hearted discussions about the Ukraine conflict. “A solution is not possible on the battlefield,” Modi emphasized. The Indian leader’s visit coincided with a NATO summit in Washington, where the Ukraine war was a major focus. While Modi reiterated India’s readiness to mediate peace, he highlighted the unbearable pain of losing innocent lives, especially children, in conflicts.

Economic and Defense Cooperation

Russia remains a crucial supplier of discounted oil and military equipment to India, a partnership rooted in Cold War-era ties. Bilateral trade between the two nations soared to nearly $65 billion in the past year, driven by energy cooperation. Modi’s visit aimed to address this trade imbalance and encourage Russian investment in India. Both leaders set an ambitious goal to reach $100 billion in bilateral trade by 2030.

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India relies heavily on Russian military equipment, with 60% of its arsenal of Russian origin. However, the Ukraine conflict has delayed the supply of spare parts, prompting India to diversify its sources to include the U.S., Israel, France, and Italy. Modi raised this issue with Putin, and both sides agreed to address the delays. Additionally, Russia is set to assist India in building more nuclear power plants, enhancing their long-standing collaboration in the energy sector.

Geopolitical Implications and International Reactions

Modi’s visit drew mixed reactions globally. The U.S. State Department expressed concerns over India’s relationship with Russia, urging respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized Modi’s meeting with Putin, calling it a blow to peace efforts. Despite these criticisms, India maintains a policy of strategic autonomy, balancing its ties with both the U.S. and Russia to counter China’s influence.

Western nations have imposed sanctions on Russia, but trade between India and Russia continues to grow, particularly in the energy sector. India now sources over 40% of its oil imports from Russia. This economic partnership underscores the importance of Russia to India’s energy security and highlights the strategic balancing act Delhi must perform to maintain its geopolitical interests.