Speaking territorially, it will look like the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but speaking politically, every missile that Russia shoots at Ukraine is not actually against Ukraine but against the United States and its affiliates. Amid fighting on the battlefield, Ukraine and the West are debating the conflict at the global stage and the allies of the US had aligned together and have been condemning Putin's regime for invading Ukraine.
If there is one major ally of the US that also observes friendly ties with Russia, it would undoubtedly be India. When the conflict had escalated, India had neither voiced in favour of the United States nor it had directly condemned Russia's advancement towards the Ukrainian territory. India has reiterated its stand urging a de-escalation of tensions and finding a solution diplomatically. India is one of the few countries that hasn't criticized Russia's decision of sending troops to Ukraine.
At the recently-held UN Security Council meeting, India had called on all parties to exercise utmost restraint. TS Tirumurti, India's permanent representative to the UN, said, "The immediate priority is a de-escalation of tensions taking into account legitimate security interests of all countries and aimed towards securing long term peace and stability in the region and beyond." India has also urged all sides to intensify diplomatic efforts to reach for an amicable solution.
As India poses to be a watcher of the conflict in the midst of advocating for diplomatic talks, the Indian Embassy in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv has initiated actions to aid the Indian nationals living in the war-torn country. While India maintains close ties with the United States economically, it has also been one of the major buyers of the Russian arms and defence system and the country is in imperative need of balancing the ties between the two nations and at the same time, ensuring that its voices are heard at the global stage.
While other Asian countries like Japan and Australia - close to the US, backed the western voice of imposing sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine, India stood far away from keeping its direct intervention. Last December, India and Russia had announced that they have signed a programme of cooperation in the field of defence for the next ten years, from 2022 to 2031. The two countries have set a target for $30 billion in trade and $50 billion in investment by 2025.
Welcoming India's position on the conflict, Russia had commended India's approach with open arms. Roman Babushkin, the Russian envoy to India, said India's approach to be independent and balanced. Referring to TS Tirumurti's statement at the Security Council meeting, Roman said, "We welcome the independent position India has taken in the UN Security Council twice already which was expressed openly by the Indian External Affairs Minister and other officials."
He further said, "India's stance at the Security Council reflects our special and privileged strategic partnership and fully corresponds to Indian aspirations to enhance its status in global affairs." On the ties between both the nations, Roman said, "We continue our work with our Indian partners in defence. We have big plans and we hope that our partnership will continue further at the same level we are enjoying today."
How the conflict affects India?
India's balancing position doesn't bring relief when we speak about how the conflict would affect India. Every conflict would disturb the globe economically as the countries that have no role in the conflict would also get affected as it would break the chain of the economy and would plummet the foreign exchanges and surge the prices of petroleum. Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Thursday had pushed Brent crude to more than $100/barrel for the first time in seven years. Bitcoin fell below $35,000.
India's Sensex and Nifty had declined as much as 2.5% each in opening trade on Thursday when Russian troops entered Ukraine. As the largest importer of crude oil, India is surfaced with reports that the prices of diesel and petrol would rise unprecedentedly in the coming days. The global share markets have been reporting a downfall after the Covid-19 pandemic as they are facing a huge disruption. Russia is a key supplier of energy globally and Europe depends on Russia for about a quarter of its oil supplies and a third of its gas.
Kang Wu, Head of Global Macro, Demand and Asia Analytics at S&P Global Platts, said, "There will be oil coming to the market but currently due to geopolitical risks and also the potential worry about the supply and leading to buying to fill the storage, will keep the prices at high levels for now." He further said, "Without Russian oil interruptions, by the second half of the year, we are looking at something around $80 of oil price."
Recently, speaking at a post Budget interaction, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Russia- Ukraine tension and a surge in crude oil prices pose risk to the financial stability of the country and the government is closely monitoring the situation. Speaking to the reporters, she said, "When we were looking at the challenges posed for financial stability, crude was one of the things. International worrisome situations, where we actually voiced that we want diplomatic solutions for the situation developing in Ukraine, all these are headwinds."