Kiev exploited New Delhi’s goodwill by taking advantage of it to harm the interests of its supposed partner’s students. That war-torn countries’ authorities and their educational representatives weren’t sincere about what was going on this entire time.
Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishankar revealed that his country was “really frustrated” with some Ukrainian universities due to their refusal to offer online classes for those Indian students that fled this war-torn country since the commencement of Russia’s ongoing special military operation there. Last month, this top diplomat also said that some of those same educational institutions “actively discouraged” students from leaving Ukraine, which resulted in some of them essentially being held hostage by Neo-Nazi militias and even racially abused by authorities at the border. All of this was intended to punish India for its policy of principled neutrality by proxy.
The lesson is that India just learned the hard way to treat everything that Kiev says with skepticism. As the largest non-aligned country in the New Cold War between the US on one hand and Russia and China on the other, India sought to present itself as the global example of principled neutrality in practice. To this end, it listened to both Kiev and Moscow in its well-intended attempt to interpret exactly what’s going on in the context of their present crisis. It took some Ukrainian statements for granted because it had no reason to doubt them. Treating them with skepticism right away would have implied a bias on India’s part, which it wanted to avoid being accused of due to its neutral reputation.
Regrettably, Kiev exploited New Delhi’s goodwill by taking advantage of it to harm the interests of its supposed partner’s students. That war-torn countries’ authorities and their educational representatives weren’t sincere about what was going on this entire time. They basically lied to India in order to manipulate its perceptions and that of its people so as to hold the latter as de facto hostages. It also doesn’t want them continuing their education online since Kiev intends to punish New Delhi for its policy of principled neutrality by creating unnecessary obstacles for its students. This is counterproductive though since it’s reduced trust between these two countries.
India wants to retain its previously excellent relations with Kiev and hopes to continue to cooperate with its partner for mutually beneficial reasons. It doesn’t want to cut it off, let alone because doing so would prompt questions about its policy of principled neutrality. Nevertheless, New Delhi already definitely has more than enough reasons to informally distance itself from Kiev, or at the very least treat everything that it says from here on out with skepticism. India learned its lesson the hard way but it can’t be faulted for initially trusting Ukrainian statements since it had no reason to doubt them until now. The rest of the international community should take note and consider following India’s example if they so choose.