Indian diplomacy has been tested since the beginning of the Russia Ukraine war. The West including the US and European Union is forcing India to be loud about Russian attack and condemn Russia at all platforms. India is walking on a tightrope where it cannot go against Russia which has been a firm supporter of India in history as well as present. India cannot enrage the US because we have good trade relations with them and also new alliances of the modern world like QUAD are with them. The US and Russia have not been on the same page due to major differences in their ideologies. Countries like India who have never been tilted to any of them are in a dilemma as it is becoming more difficult day by day to be neutral.
Naval drill Vostok-22
Like every year, Russia has conducted its military exercise and invited many nations. The exercise was held in the first week of September in the eastern territory of Russia. The world was looking at this exercise with suspicion as this was the first exercise which was multilateral and was being conducted by Russia. 13 counties were expected to participate including India and they all participated. Other nations were China, Mongolia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Laos, Syria, Nicaragua and Algeria. This was a massive exercise which consisted of more than 50 thousands soldiers of different countries and the equipment for the military was also 5 thousand in number. 50 warships marched on the land and 140 aircrafts were roaming in the sky. This exercise surely raised the eyebrows of the countries supporting Ukraine in this ongoing war. The US and European Union had warned countries to not take part in the Vostok-22 exercise and boycott Russia completely.
Has India completely boycotted the exercise?
India has sent its ? Gorkha rifles for the exercise. Indian involvement was limited to exercises in joint training in field and exercise of firepowers and also discussion of combat. India didn't not completely stay away from the exercise because that could hurt Russian sentiments. India had given logical reasons behind not taking part in the naval exercise. India took part in land exercise because it was being organized in the eastern territory but the naval exercise was being conducted near 'Sea of Okhotsk' and 'Sea of Japan' and these two are located near the Kuril Island which is a bone of contention between Russia and Japan. By refusing to take part in the naval exercise, India has killed two birds with one stone. One in hand, not taking part in drill exercises will give assurance to Japan that India is sensitive to their insecurities and the West will see it as a tilt towards themselves. Also Russia will not be angry as India is participating in land exercises. On the other hand, China sent its 2000 personnel to participate in the exercise to show its firm support to Russia. This move by China has irked the US and the West as China is the biggest hurdle in boycotting Russia. China is constantly doing trade with Russia which is very crucial for Russia at this moment as Russia is facing large scale economic sanctions.
Has the exercise completed now?
The Vostok-22 exercise has been completed as it was conducted from 31st August to 7th September 2022. It was an 8 day exercise. Lieutenant General Yunus-Bek Yevkurov who was the chief director of the exercise and he is also deputy defense minister of Russia gave a speech on the last day of the exercise. He thanked all the participating countries and expressed gratitude and wished cordial relations and mutual cooperation among all the participant countries.
India's versatile diplomacy -
PM Modi attended the virtual meeting of SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) where Russia and China were parties and he also attended the G7 summit as a special guest where all the developed nations were present. India evaded the phenomenon of making a strong statement in favor or against Russia. India is walking on its own way balancing the equations with both the opposite powers.
India is leading the world to a new path of peace and cooperation. India has always been the torch- bearer when the world has been in a dilemma of choosing one over the other. India's policy of Non-alignment has been appreciated by all. India acts according to its benefits and comforts. Global leaders also recognise this complexity of India as we are a developing nation. Recently, the US approved India's purchase of the S-400 missile defense system acknowledging the fact that India is on verge of a two front war with China and Pakistan. On the other hand, Russia is supplying Natural Gas at a subsidized price of 30%. These facts show the power of India to take decisions on its own. We are not tilting towards anybody, we are acting according to our needs.