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Vox Populi: Ukraine has put India’s foreign policy makers in a tricky situation

  • May 23, 2022
  • , The Asahi Shimbun , 1:21 p.m.
  • English Press
  • ,

Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is a barbaric act hard to imagine in the 21st century.

 

What transpired along a border between India and China in 2020 was also a kind of “clash” hardly expected in the modern world.

 

Locked in a face-off, troops from the two countries got into a fist-swinging melee instead of a shootout.

 

The bloody fight broke out in a mountainous region along the disputed border, fraught with flammable tension.

 

An agreement is in place between the two countries banning the use of firearms in border areas to avoid armed conflict.

 

The 2020 standoff triggered a quarrel that developed into a fistfight and stone-throwing battle.

 

Both governments have acknowledged that the clash resulted in deaths and injuries among their troops. Twenty Indian soldiers are said to have died.

 

Imagine what would have occurred if weapons had been used. The incident has reportedly heightened a sense of wariness of China in India.

 

The development offers a perspective for understanding the logic behind New Delhi’s diplomatic stance toward the situation in Ukraine.

 

India has abstained from all U.N. votes on resolutions to condemn Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

 

India, which has purchased weapons from Russia, is apparently reluctant to allow its relationship with Russia to be severed because New Delhi needs to deal with pressure from China.

Some Indians appear to be skeptical about this policy, however.

 

In a piece contributed to a diplomatic magazine, Shashi Tharoor, an opposition lawmaker who once served as U.N. under-secretary-general, said it will likely make less sense to depend on Russia in the future because it could be weakened by the fiasco in Ukraine and become a satellite state of China.

 

Russia has refused to stop its aggression and China has continued to beef up its military presence.

 

How to deal with these two powers is a key challenge that the leaders of the Quad group of four countries–Japan, the United States, Australia and India–will address when they meet this week in Tokyo.

 

Close attention will be paid to what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will say at the summit.

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