As China-India tensions rise, can New Delhi rely on Russia as a defence partner?

As China-India tensions rise, can New Delhi rely on Russia as a defence partner?

  • For decades India has been able to call on Moscow for support, but analysts are now questioning the wisdom of this relationship amid growing Sino-Russian ties
  • Some have said it would make more sense for Delhi to align itself more closely with the US, which has publicly avowed support for its South Asian ally
 
India’s approval of a 181.48 billion rupee (US$2.4 billion) defence deal with Russia
last week has sparked discussion in policy circles over the wisdom of New Delhi’s dependence on Moscow amid tensions with China in the wake of their Himalayan 
border dispute.
 
A key concern is whether Russia will remain a reliable ally given its deepening ties with China – Moscow’s top trading partner. But analysts believe that Delhi will have to continue building on its historic Russian relations, even as it grows closer to the United States.
 
“China provides a market for Russia, especially when it comes to things like natural gas, that it is not able to sell in the West because of the sanctions,” said Sanjay Kumar Pandey, a professor who specialises in Russian Foreign Policy at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.
 
A second point analysts have raised is whether it would be more prudent for Delhi to align itself with the US, which has publicly avowed its support for India in the ongoing dispute.