India has found itself in a precarious position given that the nation seemingly wants to maintain good relations with Russia and the Western world alike.
Things got awkward for the nation after it found itself hosting both U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at this week’s G20 meeting in New Delhi.
As The Times of India reported, “a meeting was seen as unlikely between the two men, who have not been in the same room since a G20 meeting in Bali in July – when, according to Western officials, the Russian foreign minister walked out.”
Ukraine war set to divide as India hosts G20 foreign ministers https://t.co/2XXKGUQkan
— TOI India (@TOIIndiaNews) March 1, 2023
The Russian Foreign Ministry reportedly took a jab at its foreign enemies, proclaiming the West is only enacting sanctions on Russia because it wants “revenge for the inevitable disappearance of the levers of dominance from its hands.”
The group additionally asserted that “The destructive policy of the U.S. and its allies has already put the world on the brink of a disaster, provoked a rollback in socio-economic development, and seriously aggravated the situation of the poorest countries.”
The Times noted that India was hoping the G20 meeting would be concentrated on “issues such as alleviating poverty and climate finance,” but acknowledged the Ukraine war would likely dominate the conversation.
India has remained neutral on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating, “this isn’t an era of war.”
Blinken, on the other hand, is hopeful that India will change its ways in time.
“There are countries that have long-standing, decades-long relationships with Russia, with the Soviet Union before, that are challenging to break off in one fell swoop. It’s not flipping a light switch, it’s moving an aircraft carrier,” Blinken reportedly told The Atlantic.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “Countries like India and South Africa, which have not joined the West in denouncing Russia's invasion of Ukraine, were likely on a trajectory away from alignment with Moscow but that process would not happen ‘in one fell swoop’.” pic.twitter.com/jZ8Ze3gwNp
— Mario Nawfal (@MarioNawfal) February 24, 2023
The Secretary of State added, “India for decades had Russia at the core of providing military equipment to it and its defenses, but what we’ve seen over the last few years is a trajectory away from relying on Russia and moving into partnership with us and other countries.”
India’s Foreign Secretary, Vinay Kwatra, stressed the nation’s neutrality in the conflict, insisting that “Dialogue and diplomacy are the way forward.”