Korybko To Happymon Jacob: Russian-Indian Ties Are Qualitatively Evolving


The qualitative evolution of Russian-Indian ties from simply being one multipolar axis among several to gradually transforming into the most pivotal one in the world due to their shared tripolarity/multiplexity visions is among the greatest black swan events since the latest US-provoked phase of the Ukrainian Conflict began in late February and arguably the only one that has yet to be widely acknowledged.

The hugely influential Council on Foreign Relations’ Foreign Affairs magazine just published an article about how “Russia Is Losing India: How Putin’s Ukraine Gambit Doomed A Long Partnership”. It was written by Happymon Jacob, who’s an Associate Professor of Diplomacy and Disarmament at Jawaharlal Nehru University and the founder of the Council for Strategic and Defense Research in New Delhi. His alarming assessment of the special and privileged Russian-Indian Strategic Partnership mirrors the assessment shared by many of his fellow Indian intellectuals, who as a class tend to be liberals-leftists. In fact, I already responded to quite a few of them and their arguments over the past months:

* 28 April: “Korybko’s Response To Shashi Tharoor: India’s Principled Neutrality Serves Its Interests

* 1 May: “The Wall Street Journal Is Wrong: Russia Can Indeed Depend On India

* 2 May: “The Economist Is Wrong: The Ukrainian Conflict Actually Bolsters India’s Balancing Act

* 18 May: “The SCMP Is Wrong: India’s Military Diversification Plans Shouldn’t Be Anti-Russian

* 30 July: “Ramachandra Guha Is Wrong: India Should Be Proud Of Its Principled Neutrality, Not Ashamed

* 16 September: “Response To C. Raja Mohan: Russia’s Ukrainian Setback Shouldn’t Change India’s Calculations

* 22 September: “Korybko To M. K. Bhadrakumar: PM Modi’s Remark To Putin Wasn’t A Gaffe

As can be seen, there’s a concerted effort by liberal-leftist Indian intellectuals to share doom-and-gloom forecasts about the future of their country’s relations with Russia. For the convenience of those who don’t have the time to fully read or at least skim through my responses to the very similar points that each of them has raised in this respect, here are nine of my relevant analyses that explain India’s multipolar grand strategy and the role that Delhi’s decisionmakers expect Russia to play within it:

* 7 October: “Towards Bi-Multipolarity

* 16 December: “The Neo-NAM: From Vision To Reality

* 1 February: “The Twists & Turns Of Russian-Indian Ties Over The Past Few Years

* 21 May: “Rahul Gandhi vs. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar: A Clash Of Worldviews

* 22 May: “Russia, Iran, And India Are Creating A Third Pole Of Influence In International Relations

* 6 June: “India Is The Irreplaceable Balancing Force In The Global Systemic Transition

* 20 June: “Towards Dual-Tripolarity: An Indian Grand Strategy For The Age Of Complexity

* 27 June: “Explaining India’s Balancing Act Between BRICS & The G7

* 12 August: “Speculation About Russia Becoming A Chinese Puppet Ignores India’s Decisive Balancing Role

In brief, India considers the world to presently be bi-multipolar in the sense that the American and Chinese superpowers exert the largest influence over events, but rising Great Powers such as itself and Russia are also capable of shaping events too even if it’s to a much lesser extent. It therefore envisages teaming up with Russia to jointly pioneer a third pole of influence that’ll pave the way for more complex multipolarity (“multiplexity”) with time. This perfectly aligns with Russia’s vision as I earlier explained:

* 6 May: “What’s Dishonestly Smeared As ‘Russian Propaganda’ Is Just The Multipolar Worldview

* 24 May: “A Key Russian Policy Influencer Shared Crucial Insight Into His Country’s Grand Strategy

* 11 June: “President Putin’s Insight Into State Sovereignty Is Instructive For All Countries

* 22 July: “Putin’s Global Revolutionary Manifesto Is Worth Reading To Understand Russian Grand Strategy

* 5 August: “The Russian Foreign Ministry Comprehensively Explained The Global Systemic Transition

* 27 August: “Russia Correctly Described The US-Led West’s Golden Billion As Racist To The Core

The grand strategic complementarity between the Indian and Russian visions of the global systemic transition to multipolarity proves that they’ll never meaningfully drift away from one another even if some of the optics connected to their latest balancing acts might be manipulated by some to suggest otherwise. Just like India is balancing between the US-led West’s Golden Billion and the BRICS-led Global South of which it’s a part, so too is Russia balancing between its Indian and Chinese partners in the RIC framework that forms the core of BRICS. These respective balancing acts actually complement one another by helping to maintain a semblance of stability amidst this chaotic systemic transition.

The qualitative evolution of Russian-Indian ties from simply being one multipolar axis among several to gradually transforming into the most pivotal one in the world due to their shared tripolarity/multiplexity visions is among the greatest black swan events since the latest US-provoked phase of the Ukrainian Conflict began in late February and arguably the only one that has yet to be widely acknowledged. The reasons for the second observation are that: Russia and India don’t publicize this since it could unwittingly prompt unpredictable reactions from their Chinese and US partners respectively; those last two want to downplay their partners’ global importance; and many observers have agendas/ideologies.

The last of these three explanations is why liberal-leftist members of the Indian intelligentsia like Jacob and his peers continue to ignore this literally paradigm-changing trend. Each has their own agenda and/or ideology, which is discredited by acknowledging the qualitative evolution of Russian-Indian ties throughout the course of the recently accelerated global systemic transition to multipolarity. Whether it’s because they believe (be it on their own or influenced by vested interests) that India has more to gain by jumping on the Golden Billion’s anti-Russian bandwagon or that the world’s largest democracy shouldn’t closely partner with an “authoritarian state”, each wants to ruin their relations.

To that end, this class actively lobbies for India to condemn, sanction, and ditch Russia while also producing fearmongering prognoses about their allegedly doomed partnership in order to artificially manufacture a false impetus for that outcome. Jacob’s latest article for Foreign Affairs is an example of the second-mentioned and actually isn’t even all that unique if one is familiar with peers’ related information products. The only real difference between his and theirs is that Jacob’s contains the most updated narrative spinning Prime Minister Modi’s remark to President Putin at the SCO Summit in Samarkand, but that was already discredited by former Indian Ambassador to Russia Kanwal Sibal.

Surprisingly, however, Jacob completely omitted any mentioning of last month’s mutual agreement between China and India to disengage their forces from the disputed frontier. That development, which came shortly after their representatives reaffirmed their shared vision of jointly pioneering the Asian Century, discredits his fearmongering scenario that recurring skirmishes could result in China coercing its de facto Russian “junior partner” into cutting off its diplomatic and military support for India. I expected that he’d at least acknowledge that agreement and then spin it into a new narrative for advancing his agenda and/or ideology, but failing to do so hints that he knows it works against his aims.

Altogether, Jacob’s piece isn’t anything spectacular since it simply represents the latest example of a liberal-leftist Indian intellectual producing an information product designed to sow the seeds of division in their country’s special and privileged strategic partnership with Russia. Instead of lobbying for India to jump on the Golden Billion’s anti-Russian bandwagon at the expense of its objective national interests like some of his peers have already done, he took the other route that the rest have taken in claiming that their relations are already doomed, which is meant to support those lobbying efforts. Try as they might, however, this class will fail to weaken those two’s ties since they’re strategically complementary.





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