Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin share a special relationship. Their bonhomie can hardly be given a miss. It is public knowledge. Narendra Modi and Vladimir Putin represent the unbreakable relationship that India shares with Russia. Both leaders understand the importance of strong ties between their countries. But has anyone really tried to analyse what makes PM Modi’s bond with Vladimir Putin so special? Not really.
Since the invasion of Ukraine began, India has stood solidly behind Russia. India has refused to toe the West’s line on Russia. Prime Minister Modi and Vladimir Putin have so far, spoken thrice with each other since Moscow began its military operation in Ukraine. The most recent call between the two took place on Monday (March 7).
So, what really makes Narendra Modi and Vladimir Putin best friends? There are three main reasons.
Long and Parallel Political Careers
Narendra Modi took charge as the chief minister of Gujarat in 2001. Vladimir Putin has been the President of Russia since 2000. Narendra Modi took charge as Prime Minister of India in 2014. Vladimir has continued as President of Russia since 2000.
Narendra Modi was elected chief minister of Gujarat for three straight terms. He has since been elected Prime Minister with a thumping majority two times. A third win as Prime Minister for Narendra Modi is also a certainty.
Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi’s relationship dates back to the Prime Ministership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Their bond was cemented especially after 2014. Vladimir Putin is a man who admires power and strongman politics. In the Indian Prime Minister, Russian President found a friend he could relate to. Both these leaders have long political careers, and that makes their relationship very strong.
Both are Strong Leaders; Invincible Too
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is electorally invincible. He cannot be defeated – and that has been established as a fact by now. Prime Minister Modi is also a strongman – a feature essential among top political leaders who are on the driving seat of any developing democracy. PM Modi has a boss-like vibe to him, and Putin is a man who appreciates that vibe.
Vladimir Putin, as the world already knows, is invincible as well. He can’t be removed from power. He is the man in charge of Russia. He practically runs the largest country in the world. PM Modi, meanwhile, is leading the largest democracy and by a thin margin, the most populated country in the world.
And PM Modi has been continuously winning elections by winning the hearts of crores of Indians. That makes him a strongman. He is a leader who evokes admiration across India. PM Modi’s strength is the Indian population. PM Modi represents India. This is the reason why Vladimir Putin admires him.
India and Russia have both been Betrayed by the United States
India and Russia both trusted the United States at different times in the past century. Both were betrayed. From President Richard Nixon to George W Bush, Washington pandered to Pakistan. It considered India a devilish country that must be contained. The United States acted in different ways to curb India’s growth and hurt its national and strategic interests.
Russia, on the other hand, was promised by NATO and the United States that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Western powers would not eat into Moscow’s exclusive sphere of influence. Russia trusted the United States. It believed that NATO would not expand further eastward. Yet, that is exactly what NATO did. Putin does not trust the West, and if recent indications are anything to go by, PM Modi doesn’t either.
Indian Prime Minister really impressed Putin in 2017, when he said he was not interested in getting drawn into the conflict between Russia and the West, led by the United States.
Vladimir Putin knows the following things about PM Modi:
- That Modi is a shrewd leader
- That Modi supports an Asian resurgence and that he is an Eastern-bloc champion
- That Modi has constantly stood by Russia
Putin has a lot of respect for Prime Minister Modi. He knows that PM Modi can be trusted. He is comfortable around PM Modi, which is why the Russian President did not desist from engaging in some healthy flirting with an NBC journalist while Indian Prime Minister was beside him. The duo shares a brilliant equation. It is courtesy of the strong relationship between the two leaders that India and Russia’s ties are growing from strength to strength.