The current summit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be held in New Delhi on Friday in the current phase of international politics is very special for several reasons. While the two leaders are expected to sign a five-billion dollar S-400 missile defense system deal, on the other hand, the US has objected to this and warned of economic and strategic sanctions on India. According to the news, recently, when the US Secretary of State and Defense Minister came to India for two plus two talks, they had a long discussion with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on this issue only.
The second important aspect of this tour is to strengthen cooperation in the field of energy between the two countries. The first consignment of LPG has arrived from Russia earlier this year and in 2017 there was a ten-fold increase in energy imports. In November this year, due to US sanctions, Iranian oil imports can either be cut drastically, or have to be stopped altogether. In such a situation, opening a new path for oil imports from Russia will also be a major effort of the Indian side.
Where Was The Amount Invested?
Till last year, bilateral trade reached $ 10.17 billion and the figure of mutual investment is currently at $ 30 billion, which has been set by both countries to reach $ 50 billion by 2025. On Independence Day this year, the Prime Minister has made an ambitious announcement to send Indian astronauts to the moon by 2022. Russia is ready to help in this project and for training astronauts. A compromise is expected in this regard also on Friday.
An indication of increased cooperation between the two countries is that Prime Minister Modi and President Putin have met four times since last year’s meeting. Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has visited Russia three times in the last 11 months. Some more high-level visits have taken place from both sides. But this visit of the Russian President and the purchase of defense is being said in large part of the Indian media and on the part of many foreign affairs commentators that this deal can worry India, China and Pakistan in one stroke. Yes, this is an exaggeration. It is true that America has a big objection and can also declare partial sanctions. But, the main reason for this is not India’s courage.
US President Donald Trump is pursuing protectionist policies to strengthen the domestic economy. One result of this is in the face of the Sino-US trade war and conflict with the European Union. In the same sequence, Trump has also been criticizing the Indian tariff system and mentioning the trade deficit with India. In the past, he has also claimed that the US is willing to enter into a new trade agreement with India.
Now whether this is true or not, such an agreement may be needed in the coming days, because any negative attitude of America in the matter of tariffs can prove very harmful for our economy. The situation is very critical at the level of exports at the moment and investors are withdrawing their money fast. From the geopolitical point of view, India needs America regarding China, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In such a situation, India does not have the option to create more tension with America. The alternative is to balance.
It is not difficult for the current Indian foreign policy. In the case of Iran, America can be considered and in return, it can be demanded softening on defense purchases from Russia.
In this situation, the talk of the ban will be happening for a few days just for the media and people to consume. This is also important for Trump administration. There are mid-term elections in November. Investigations are still underway for alleged allegations of Russian interference and benefiting Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. In this environment, Trump would like to show that he is not soft on Putin or Russia. It is not that the US does not know that India takes almost 60 percent of its defense needs from Russia.
Talking about Pakistan and China, the relationship of these two countries with Russia is constantly getting better. They will not have serious objection to this deal. It should not be forgotten that our trade and investment with China is also deepening. Russia is also supportive of China’s belt-road initiative and has objected to the initiative of the United States, India, Japan and Australia in the Indo-Pacific. Stress has been going on with Pakistan and will continue to go on like this. There is too much to be done, so that Pakistan and China also buy some defense goods from here and there.
It should also be kept in mind that the purchase and sale of defense related equipment is not just a bargain, but also has political and economic dimensions. India is looking towards Russia for its energy needs, so Russia, facing the ban of America and Europe, also needs a market for its oil and gas.
Dominating The Market
Whether Trump’s United States shows its stubbornness, Jinping’s China being aggressive in practice or Putin’s Russia trying to dominate the global stage, international politics cannot be governed by just one or a few factors. He has a plurality of factors affecting his movements.
Where our defense relations with Russia are strong, then next year India and America are also doing joint exercises. It is also discussed that President Trump may visit India soon. On one hand, Trump is openly opposed to globalization, while Modi, Putin and Jinping are multi-polar Favors Schw. That is to say, the Modi-Putin summit should be seen as a routine meeting and the purchase of missile defense systems as a routine deal.
This opportunity should be avoided with a meaningless attempt to defy America, Pakistan and China. It should not be forgotten that our trade with America and China is many times more than the trade with Russia. Why would any government want to disturb this calculation?