Russia is a critical arm and energy supplier to India. Russia’s relationship with New Delhi is time tested. At the time of the Doklam episode and the Galwan Valley clashes, Russia remained neutral and focused on continuing with the Russia-India-China (RIC) framework.
Notably, India shares a disputed border with China that Beijing has increasingly and repeatedly sought to restructure unilaterally, with the 2020 Galwan conflict being the most recent example.
This framework, as a means of dialogue post the conflict, highlights Russia’s outlook toward India.
Another key aspect is Russia’s role as a gateway for its “Connect Central Asia Policy”. India has been striving to strengthen ties with the Central Asian Nations. This is also significant as China eyes expanding its footprint in the region.
Russia also plays a prominent role in acting out as a critical regional power. Infrastructure ventures like the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) focused on connecting India with Northern Europe, Central Asia, and the Caucasus.
The INSTC venture was brainstormed long before the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and was the result of an agreement between Iran, Russia and India signed in 2000 and later joined by 11 more nations. Building a 7200 kilometres multi-modal trade corridor running from India to Russia to Europe was the goal while linking the Indian Ocean with the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea becomes even more critical. It furthered Delhi’s economic trade ambitions