In 2019, a Russian researcher wrote about how the strategic collaboration between Russia and India can be summed up in two words: energy and armament. Despite this summary and other factors, even from the strategic point of view, bilateral relations have endured, overcoming internal and external difficulties, from Russia’s instability and weakness in the 1990s, up to the current U.S. sanctions, which have become a problem for both Moscow and New Delhi.
The biggest test of India’s relations with Russia is the war in Ukraine and India’s attitude toward it. The West had hoped that New Delhi would take its side against Russia. But things have turned out differently. India naturally frowns upon the war in Ukraine but refuses to condemn Russia.
If one looks at the history of relations between the two countries, and also at their current situation, it is not surprising that New Delhi is resisting the pressure to join the West in imposing sanctions against Russia. If one wants to sum up the situation more concisely, one can define India’s position in the words of the Indian television channel WION (The World is One News): “Should one abandon a reliable partner to fall into the hands of an unreliable one?”