It is said, in international relations, there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent interests. This adage sets fit in the context of the India-Ukraine relationship. Today, Kyiv is seeking India’s political assistance as Russia has launched a “special military operation” to save people from “genocide” in the eastern European country. But there have been many instances in history when Kyiv had backstabbed New Delhi at crucial moments.
India: The first country to recognise Ukraine
India has always been a peaceful nation and had maintained friendly relations with almost every state, except for Pakistan so to say. New Delhi had friendly relations with Kyiv when it was a part of the Soviet Union.
Upon disintegration of the Soviet Union, India was the first country to recognise Ukraine. The Government of India recognized the Republic of Ukraine as a sovereign country in December 1991. New Delhi and Kyiv established diplomatic relations in January 1992. And the country opened its Mission in Delhi, in 1993, its first in Asia.
Kyiv and New Delhi have signed 17 bilateral agreements and is one of the trade partners of India.
Despite having friendly relations on many fronts there have been many incidents in history that show that India’s relationship with Ukraine has not been rosy all the time
Ukraine condemned India’s Nuclear tests
In 1998, India under the leadership of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee conducted five nuclear tests called ‘Operation Shakti’. It not only made India a nuclear power but also ensured India’s long term security interests.
Not only Sonia Gandhi-led opposition, but the whole world stood up against India. A UNSC Resolution 1172 was passed to condemn India’s test and Ukraine sided with the 25 Nations, condemning India’s step to be a nuclear state. Kyiv became an ally of nations imposing sanctions on New Delhi.
The UN resolution that Ukraine endorsed demanded India to refrain from any further nuclear tests and demanded India to be a party of non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT) and Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
Ukraine: An ally of Pakistan
India depends on Russia for arms and arsenals. In the same way, Pakistan for a very long time depended on Ukraine. Kyiv and Islamabad traded for decades as Pakistan was the biggest customer of Ukraine. Kyiv had given Islamabad weapons worth 1.6 billion Dollars. Pakistan’s T-80 Tanks are a Ukrainian product. In 2017, both the nations even entered into a bilateral agreement for trading an advanced version of T80 Main Battle Tanks.
Though Pakistan has become China’s customer, Kyiv had betrayed New Delhi by supplying weapons to Pakistan. Despite, India exposing Pakistan of supporting terrorism, Ukraine sold 320 T80 Tanks to Pakistan.
Russia is advancing in Ukraine and the situation is very tense. All that the west is doing is mere talking. Kyiv deneutralised itself on the insurance of West. And Kyiv, which sold arms and tanks to Islamabad, never backed New Delhi on the Kashmir issue is citing India’s intervention.