hose who oppose openly may be considered opposition or enemy. Those who stand with you are considered favourable or friends. Those friends who ditch you when tide turns against you are betrayers whom one remembers much longer. Saying goes ‘once a betrayer always a betrayer.’ Indian foreign policy seems to have dragged the nation into a state where it could be termed a betrayer by the Russians. This is in reference to the recent statements issued by India’s foreign minister S Jaishankar. Reacting on the allocation of US$450 million for sustenance of Pakistan’s F16 fighter fleet, Jaishankar has said US-Pak relationship has “not served” either of the two countries. In another related statement, he has declared that “India’s dependence on Russian defence equipment and strong defence ties with Moscow is not because New Delhi didn’t approach the US to get those from America.” This clearly implies India failed in winning the confidence of the Americans for which the US did not supply India with defence hardware that was requested for. This itself is also a strong indication that India’s foreign policy has consistently failed the aspirations of this nation.
Take for example India’s vacillating stand in relation to the US and Russia in the recent past. First, after Trump’s defeat and the declaration of Biden’s victory, India was late in congratulating the new incoming President. This happened primarily because Prime Minister Modi had unnecessarily gone out of his way to campaign for Donald Trump during the peak of his election tour.
‘Ab ki bar Trump Sarkar’ was a battle cry by Modi which was against the very essence of modern foreign policy. This stand, obviously, delayed the routine good wishes that should have been immediately offered to Biden. With this in the background, came Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. This was a golden opportunity for India’s foreign policy makers to patch up with the Biden administration and the democratic West. India missed that bus twice by abstaining from the UN Security Council votes against Russia. That too was fine since all Indians had been fed with the narrative that we needed Russia for less expensive petroleum and defence supplies. While the world went one way, India chose to support Russia along with China and openly stayed away from aligning with other democratic nations. It even held military exercises with Russian forces in Central Asia while the war was raging in Ukraine. All this would have been very well accepted but for the changing scenario of the war.
World perception altered the image of Russia and its military capabilities came under dark clouds of doubt. Reports of Russia’s defeats and desertions have occupied global media space lately. Hilarious as it may seem, this looks like it has unnerved India’s top bosses. Without a clear perspective of global history and India’s well known and time tested policy of Non Alignment formulated during the Nehru period, current Indian leadership has again faltered. This became evident when India supported Zelenskyy’s address at the UN twice. This volte face in foreign policy seems to have left India with no friends on either side. Russia, too, must be restructuring its future policies towards India which is obviously changing its tune when Moscow is under pressure.
While it is better to be an enemy, it is terrible to be Unfriended.