Home News Modi’s visit to Moscow shows Putin is no longer isolated, angers Ukraine

Modi’s visit to Moscow shows Putin is no longer isolated, angers Ukraine


As the sun set, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi strolled under trees with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin at the Russian leader’s suburban residence. He rode a golf cart along the path, talked for hours over tea, petted a horse during a visit to Putin’s stables and breathed in the tranquility of an estate that once belonged to the Romanov dynasty.

The Indian leader’s two-day visit to Russia on Monday night also reflected a sobering reality: despite Western interest in isolating Russia to prevent it from invading Ukraine in 2022, Other countries pursue their own interests in MoscowHelping Putin prop up the Russian economy and wage war.

As Modi embraces Russian leader, Kiev rescues aid workers in Ukraine Largest pediatric hospital after Russian missile attackUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Modi’s embrace “hugely disappointing” and a “devastating blow to peace efforts.”

The arrival in Russia of the leader of the world’s largest democracy is further evidence that Putin has avoided the pariah status that Western leaders sought to impose on him after the invasion. Putin held two meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Within two monthsAnd meet Vietnam, HungaryBelarus and Central Asian countries, maintaining a tight diplomatic agenda.

Modi’s visit to Russia is his first in five years and coincides with NATO Heads of State Annual Summitheld this year in Washington.

Western officials immediately condemned the attack on the Ukrainian children’s hospital, which Moscow denied responsibility for. But they failed to persuade India to speak out against Putin’s war. Despite deepening ties with the United States, Modi has avoided condemning Russia’s aggression and calling for a “collective dialogue,” choosing instead to maintain the warm ties with Moscow that India has cultivated since the Cold War.

“For two and a half years, Russia has been committing atrocities, but most of the world is not afraid or willing to maintain some form of normal relations with Moscow,” said Andrew S. Weiss, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. “That’s a really sad assessment of Russia’s continued geopolitical influence.”

Video clips of Putin and Modi’s passionate embrace were widely circulated on Indian news channels and social media. Putin called Modi his “best friend” during an informal meeting between the two on Monday. The Indian leader described the meeting as mostly a casual chat between friends. The Kremlin said the talks lasted three hours.

“Hearing the word ‘Russia’, the first word that comes to every Indian’s mind is ‘India’s partner in joy and sorrow’,” Modi said during a meeting with the Indian community in Moscow, according to Russian state news agency TASS. “Russia is a true friend of India.”

Modi’s warm words for Putin caught the attention of people in Kiev, where Ukrainians were shocked by the devastating attack on a children’s hospital on Monday. Images of children with IV lines still connected outside the destroyed medical facility, some covered in blood, were heartbreaking for a country exhausted by more than two years of Russian bombardment.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “It is deeply disappointing and a devastating blow to peace efforts to see the leader of the world’s largest democracy embrace the world’s bloodiest criminal in Moscow on a day like this.” Written on X.

New Delhi’s stance toward Moscow is beneficial to both India and Russia. While India imported little Russian crude oil before its invasion of Ukraine, the country has since emerged as a Russia is the second largest oil importer after ChinaIndia has been refining Russian crude and re-exporting it to European countries affected by the ban. South Asian countries’ lucrative middleman role.

The United States has sought to deepen its ties with India amid growing tensions with China, but has not forced New Delhi to choose between Washington and Moscow.

Responding to questions about Modi’s visit, US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said at a press briefing on Monday that he was not aware of any specific conversations between US and Indian officials regarding Modi’s visit to Russia.

Miller said the United States has “made clear to India directly our concerns about India’s relationship with Russia” and he will “watch Prime Minister Modi’s public remarks to see what he and Putin discuss about this visit.” He also said Washington expects any country that engages Moscow to make clear that Russia should respect the UN Charter and Ukraine’s sovereignty and borders.

There is no indication that Modi plans to convey such a message to Putin.

India has a long history of friendly relations with Moscow, dating back to the Cold War. For decades, the Soviet Union and later Russia provided India with large amounts of weapons and military equipment, although this dependence has decreased in recent years – partly due to pressure from the United States.

“This is a time-tested relationship and there is a consensus in India, regardless of political leanings, that the relationship with Russia is something to be maintained and not wasted,” said Rajan Menon, an international affairs expert and professor emeritus of political science at City College.

Putin framed his invasion of Ukraine as an anti-imperialist struggle against Western aggression, a message that resonated in developing countries that once suffered from Western colonialism.

Unlike Western countries where the view of Russia is mostly negative, many Indians have a positive view of Russia, according to a survey. Pew Research Center Poll A poll conducted this year showed that only 16% of Indian respondents had a negative view of Russia, while 46% expressed a positive view of Russia.

Menon predicted that India will continue to develop a deeper relationship with the United States over the long term, but not at the cost of taking sides.

“Anyone who expects you can separate India from the United States and put it in the American fold is not going to happen,” he said. “Would you rather be completely dependent on the United States or Russia, or maintain a flexible position in between?”

Back home, representatives of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party traded barbs with leaders of the Indian National Congress, Modi’s main rival in parliament. Senior Indian National Congress official Jairam Ramesh condemned Modi’s decision to travel to Russia for a two-day visit instead of visiting relief camps in the northeastern state of Assam, where opposition leader Rahul Gandhi was visiting victims of floods that have caused severe damage. But the Kremlin’s war on Ukraine was not mentioned.

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