There was a time when our diplomats used to run from pillars to posts to get our legitimate voices heard. It has become a thing of the past now and now countries are suo moto stating their confidence in the Indian government. The Ukraine-Russia war has in fact made the phenomenon more explicit. Poland is the latest one to join the bandwagon.
Poland is confident about India
Poland has become the latest fan of Foreign Policy of India. Adam Burakowski, the Polish ambassador to India, has said that by virtue of being a peaceful country, India can stabilize the current global order. Poland believes that India will help the anti-Russian bloc in enlarging the cost of war for Russia. In the same breath, the Polish ambassador also said that India can talk to Russia and communicate to them that the war has more costs than benefits.
The ambassador became one of the few western spokespersons who fall on the anti-Russia bloc to state that India’s foreign policy is “neutral”. Stating the reasons for pitching India as a dialogue enabler in the crisis, the ambassador said, “India has a dialogue with other countries, there is a need of a dialogue and since India has this special relationship with Russia, why not…”
It is a well-known fact
The Polish ambassador just articulated the implicit understanding shared by every country registered under the United Nations. Ever since the first Russian troop landed on the Ukrainian soil, every country has been standing on one end of the spectrum or the other.
In spite of having massive dependability on Russian oil and gas, the US and Europe decided to run a sanction regime. Countries all around the world were given only two choices. Either they had to be pro-Russia or explicitly denounce Putin.
India chose to be neutral
Without caring for their population, the whole of west rallied behind the US. On the other hand, India was a bit sceptical of their stand. The Modi government had already witnessed a disaster called the Afghan evacuation. Taliban ended up being in power, increasing our headaches regarding kashmir. India did not want more problems. On the other hand, India did not want to fall under sanctions radar either. So, it chose a policy of strategic neutrality. India decided to stay overtly neutral on the narratives around war.
Whenever the United Nations gave two choices to countries, India abstained from voting. India said that neither is it pro-Russia nor is it pro-Ukraine. The move drew appreciation from Russia. Though Ukraine did not explicitly make such gestures, Zelenskyy’s calls to PM Modi communicated what the world leaders needed to know.
On the other end of the conflict, India started to avail cheaper products from Russia with crude oil dominating the basket. When Western countries accused India of “funding the war”, they were given a thorough and factual rebuttal by our Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar.
India’s gain amidst west loss
Meanwhile, neutrality helped the Indians stuck in Ukraine. Indian students, facing the fear of ultimate destination, were one of the few nationals to escape Ukraine. In fact, Poland became one of the gateways through which Indians got a sigh of relief. Out of 22,000 students evacuating the country, 6,000 of them took shelter in Polish safe zones and later landed in India.
Now that the war is stuck for many months, causing more catastrophic damages, western nations have realized the importance of dialogue, something which India has iterated and reiterated since the war kicked off. Their “Putin is bad” narrative is slowly going down as Zelenskyy is also turning out to be no “saint” either. Maybe West has started to realize that a comedian turned President is the wrong guy to support.
But they do not have many options left. They can’t ask China for help. Ultimately, India is the only nation that can ask both parties to compromise a bit.
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