lørdag 23. april 2022

Why India can buy Russian oil, and still be friends with the US

What a difference a few weeks make. Just last month India was taking flak from the West for its relationship with Russia. Not only was the South Asian country refusing to condemn Moscow's brutal assault on Ukraine, but its purchases of discounted Russian oil -- said critics -- were flying in the face of sanctions aimed at crippling the Kremlin's finances.

And the White House was making its displeasure clear, calling New Delhi "somewhat shaky" and speaking of its "disappointment". Then all of a sudden, the West's tune changed. When Biden met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi this month, it was all diplomatic backslapping and soundbites about "a deep connection between our people" and "shared values." Then on Friday UK leader Boris Johnson flew into Delhi to talk up trade ties and pose for costumed photo ops, all while glossing over "differences" regarding Russia.

Yet India's stance on Ukraine remains largely the same. It is still buying cheap Russian oil -- in fact, it has bought nearly as much in the first months of 2022 as it did in whole of 2021, according to Reuters -- and it remains quiet on Moscow's invasion. As recently as April 7 it abstained from a UN vote suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council.