Indians will never forget how their Western partners meddled in their affairs in an attempt to undermine their country’s national interests.
Russian Ambassador to India Denis Alipov confirmed in an exclusive interview with RT over the weekend that these two countries have successfully thwarted the West’s efforts to harm their relations via information warfare and secondary sanctions threats. There are still plenty of insufficiently tapped mutual opportunities, but what’s been achieved thus far is impressive, all the more so due to it being done in the face of immense Western resistance. Here’s the pertinent excerpt from his interview:
“Our ties continue to steadily expand in a wide range of areas according to our converging national interests. But unlike our Western partners, we have never conditioned cooperation on politics, have not interfered in domestic affairs, and have always maintained mutually respectful and trusted relationships. Therefore, even now we mainly see a growing desire to keep working together and finding ways to overcome well-known impediments caused by destructive unilateral approaches.
This probably haunts the West that spares no effort to undermine our dialogue. The Western media widely represented in India launched a targeted campaign to discredit Russia.
US officials who come here do not hesitate to directly state that they are pursuing the goal of tearing New Delhi away from Moscow. They are even making threats with secondary sanctions. Some Indian partners are forced to exercise caution, sometimes – frankly speaking – excessively, but there are also a significant number of those for whom such an approach is unacceptable. How else can we explain the growing dynamics of our interaction and contacts at almost all levels, including the highest one?”
Analyzing what he revealed, the first part reaffirmed that Russia and India have converging national interests, which were explained at length in this detailed piece here from last spring about the grand strategic contours of their cooperation in the emerging tri-multipolar world order. It’s important to emphasize this and the fact that both parties have always respected one another since it contrasts with the troubles in Sino-Indo ties of late as well.
Although they’re both part of the BRICS and SCO, these two are caught up in a fierce rivalry stemming from their unresolved border dispute, and Delhi believes that relations with Beijing can’t be repaired until that issue is dealt with. From India’s perspective, China’s media and trade policies amount to domestic interference, hence why curbs on both were previously imposed. Whatever one’s opinion about their problems may be, the point is that Russia’s ties with India are much better than China’s.
US-Indian ties have become troubled since November, not to mention the tension that was building due to American pressure on India to dump Russia since the special operation began, but their newfound challenges pale in comparison to the multisided ones that plague Sino-Indo ones. Drawing attention to this is meant to highlight the strength of Russian-Indian ties by comparison to India’s ones with the US and China in order for readers to fully appreciate how deeply they trust one another.
Moving along, Ambassador Alipov also mentioned Western media influence in India, which was likely an allusion to the sway that this bloc holds over some of that civilization-state’s outlets. Indian society is characterized by pluralism so it’s taken for granted that the country’s foreign policy interests aren’t always reflected by the media, though sometimes the latter contradict and even misportray them, thus prompting the Russian Embassy to issue condemnations and clarifications on their website.
These interventions are far and few between, but they nonetheless still happen on occasion, and it’s these scandals that Ambassador Alipov was likely hinting at in that particular part of his interview. Casual observers should be aware of them in order to not be misled by their weaponized narratives into falsely thinking that the existence of such anti-Rusisan articles suggests a change in Indian policy. They’re purely representative of an author or outlet’s own opinion and don’t have anything to do with the state itself.
Even so, some Indians might still fall for the claims contained in those pieces, which is why the Russian Embassy sometimes issues condemnations and clarifications in response to the most egregious ones. By and large, however, Indian public opinion is very strongly in favor of Russia as proven by independent surveys. These two’s well-wishers therefore don’t have anything to worry about since the US’ information warfare has failed to divide their societies.
The last part of Ambassador Alipov’s interview talked about the failure of the US’ secondary sanctions threats as proven by the expansion of trade and investment over the past two years. While he did indeed mention that some companies are being “excessively” cautious, he also reminded everyone that all that’s been achieved thus far couldn’t have happened without the support of the Indian leadership, particularly at the highest level. This confirms that Prime Minister Narendra Modi won’t be bullied.
Individual entrepreneurs, banks, companies, and the like have the right to scale back or decline cooperation with Russia for whatever reason since India is a market economy, but others also have the same such right to comprehensively expand cooperation for the exact same reason. Once again, just like with the previously mentioned examples of some Indian outlets laundering Western information warfare narratives, casual observers shouldn’t be misled about bilateral ties by a few companies’ examples.
One of the ways in which the West tries to manipulate perceptions of Russian-Indian relations is by maximally amplifying such instances in order to falsely frame them as representative of a new trend even though they’re really just outliers of the actual trend whereby cooperation continues growing. The bottom line is that the West failed to harm those two’s ties, and Indians will never forget how their Western partners meddled in their affairs in an attempt to undermine their country’s national interests.