Ukraine Crisis : India’s Position – ‘Take No Sides’,

Kanwal Sibal, career diplomat who retired as Foreign Secretary to the Government of India.

Rising tensions in Europe around Ukraine is adding to the geopolitical complexities facing the world today. With Covid-19 still causing ravages in Europe and the US this would hardly be the time to raise the spectre of a military conflict in the transatlantic space.

Seen from a distant geography these tensions appear uncalled for. The stakes in the tussle around Ukraine do not seem to be high enough to justify diverting attention from the real challenges facing the international community relating to the pandemic, climate change, globalisation imbalances, reform of international institutions, erosion of the global trading system, restoration of multilateralism, the impact of new technologies, the increasing rich-poor divide, and so on. […]

For India, this Russia-US confrontation over Ukraine is most unwelcome. India’s ties with the US have expanded in many areas, making it the most important external partnership we have today in terms of the range of engagement, notwithstanding differences over several issues. Russia remains a vital partner even if the range of ties with it are much narrower in scope. India has to keep its ties with Russia in good shape not only for important bilateral reasons but also to maintain a balance in our foreign policy, avoid becoming overdependent on any one side as that will limit our strategic autonomy, as also to neutralise to some extent the consequences for us the deepening strategic ties between Russia and China. We cannot develop a credible Eurasian/Central Asian policy either without good understanding with Russia.

Already questions are being asked about India’s position if there is a US-Russian conflict over Ukraine, diplomatic or otherwise. The answer is clear: India need not take sides. Läs artikel