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Modi’s Moscow visit again highlights strong Indo-Russia ties

Notably, this is Modi’s first bilateral visit since taking oath for a rare third term as the PM last month, and his first visit to Russia after the Ukraine war.

News Arena Network - New Delhi - UPDATED: July 6, 2024, 03:41 AM - 4 mins read

Modi’s Moscow visit again highlights strong Indo-Russia ties


Having seized a controversial fifth term as President, recently Russia’s Vladimir Putin has been on a mission to gain much-needed geopolitical approval. 

 

Last month, Russian state TV went into an overdrive televising the famous car ride taken together by President Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a Russian-built Aurus limousine. Now as PM Modi embarks on a three-day visit to Moscow and Austria this week, once again Putin hopes to leverage the visit to salvage his approval ratings back home and showcase his clout to the West.  

 

Notably, this marks Narendra Modi’s first bilateral visit since taking oath for the third consecutive term as India’s prime minister last month. Even more significantly, this is PM Modi’s first visit since the Ukraine war. 

 

The diplomatic development once again makes many revisit as to why India and Russia have remained steadfast allies for decades now.  

 

Ever since the all-out and much-criticised invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February 2022, the Indian government, the right-wing public and large segments of Indian mainstream media have firmly been on Putin’s side. Social media hashtags like IstandwithPutin are one of the many barometers of this stance.

 

The Indian government, most notably sided with Vladimir Putin, by refusing to support UN resolutions that condemned the invasion, thereby clearly stating through its actions that India was not willing to jeopardize its diplomatic ties with Russia at any cost. 

 

Russia and India have been strong allies since forever

 

India-Russia’s geopolitical ties go back to the Independence in 1947. Over the years, both nations have routinely taken a stance supporting each other on major contentious international issues. While Moscow sees its ties with New Delhi as a means to offset American dominance, India views the same as a means to overcome political threats from China. 

 

Russia’s support for India on the crucial issue of Kashmir is another instance. UN Security Council resolutions in 1957, 1962 and 1971 called for international intervention in Kashmir. 

 

However, the Soviet Union vetoed all of the resolutions, making clear its position that Kashmir was a bilateral issue and needed to be solved through negotiations between India and Pakistan. 

 

Russia’s pro-India stance on Kashmir once again came under the spotlight when the Modi government scrapped Article 370 in 2019, revoking Jammu & Kashmir’s special status. While severe criticism came from a few sections of international media and world leaders, Russia stood firmly by India and called this to be, “an internal matter” of India. 

 

The most recent efforts of international intervention in Kashmir came in January 2020, following China-led efforts to do so. Russia’s representative to the UN, Dmitry Polyanskiy was among the prompt ones to tweet, “UNSC discussed Kashmir in closed consultations. Russia firmly stands for the normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan. We hope that differences between them will be settled through bilateral efforts.” 

 

The alliance between the two nations goes beyond political support and extends to military cooperation and economic ties as well. 

 

While the Kremlin says, “all issues are on the agenda,” India’s Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra has called the visit “purely bilateral” alongside dismissing suggestions that Modi’s talks with Putin would appear in contrast to the NATO summit that begins in the U.S on the same day, that is July 9. However, the Russia-Ukraine conflict is expected to be on the agenda. 

 

Deepening Russia-China relations? 

 

One of the many reasons for the visit is speculated to be deepening Russia-China ties as the meeting comes only two months after Putin went to China as the first foreign visit of his new term. Last month, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller refused to comment on the development, “until the visit was publicly confirmed by the two governments.” Modi’s visit is likely to not be viewed favourably as it dents the West’s efforts to label Putin as an outcast. 

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