NEW DELHI (AP) – India is exploring ways to avoid a major disruption in its supply of Russian-made weaponry amid United States (US) sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tightrope walk could become more difficult due to a continuing border standoff with China.
Experts said up to 60 per cent of Indian defence equipment comes from Russia, and New Delhi finds itself in a bind at a time when it is facing a two-year-old standoff with China in eastern Ladakh over a territorial dispute, with tens of thousands of soldiers within shooting distance. Twenty Indian soldiers and four Chinese soldiers died in a clash in 2020.
“The nightmare scenario for India would be if the US comes to the conclusion that it confronts a greater threat from Russia and that this justifies a strategic accommodation with China. In blunt terms, concede Chinese dominance in Asia while safeguarding its European flank,” India’s former foreign secretary Shyam Saran wrote in a recent blog post.
President Joe Biden has spoken about unresolved differences with India after the country abstained from voting on United Nations resolutions against Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Modi has so far avoided voting against Russia or criticising Putin for invading Ukraine.