There’s A New Western Media Push To Sow Doubts About The Russian-Indian Strategic Partnership

Western media try to sow the seeds of suspicion about the Russian-Indian Strategic Partnership by laundering speculation about Chinese and US influence over each respective party.

These back-to-back pieces are meant to mislead India and Russian experts into thinking that it’s not worth maintaining their strategic partnership because Russia supposedly already defected to China while India supposedly already defected to the US.  

The National Interest and Politico just published back-to-back pieces by Western-friendly Indian writers who sowed doubts about the Russian-Indian Strategic Partnership. The first one was by Anita Inder Singh and titled “Make No Mistake, Russia Values China Over India”, while the second was by Anchal Vohra and about how “India looks beyond Russia for defense imports”. The arguments presented therein aren’t new but what’s novel is their timed publication on platforms that are read by foreign policy experts.

Singh sought to convince her audience that Russia is already China’s junior partner, thus implying that there’s no longer any reason for India to retain special and privileged ties with it since doing so is assumedly a waste of time and effort. As for Vohra, she cited fellow Western-friendly Indian experts who agreed with her prediction that their country will accelerate its military decoupling from Russia. The following three pieces already challenged these claims and should be reviewed by interested readers:

* 25 February 2024: “India’s Top Diplomat Explained Why His Country Is Doubling Down On Ties With Russia

* 11 March 2024: “Russian-Indian Relations Are Moving Beyond Their Prior Military-Centricity

* 25 March 2024: “Jaishankar Reaffirmed India’s Trust In Russia Amidst Claims Of The Latter Drifting Towards China

The gist is that Russia relies on India to preemptively avert potentially disproportionate dependence on China, thus keeping tri-multipolarity processes on track with a view towards them eventually evolving into complex multipolarity (“multiplexity”) instead of reverting to a form of Sino-US bi-multipolarity. The Kremlin’s concern is that any such lopsided relationship could make Russia strategically vulnerable in the event that China and the US agree to a “New Détente”. Here are a few prior analyses about this policy:

* 6 June 2022: “India Is Irreplaceable Balancing Force in Global Systemic Transition

* 2 March 2023: “Towards Tri-Multipolarity: The Golden Billion, The Sino-Russo Entente, & The Global South

* 4 May 2023: “RIC’s Differences Should Be Candidly Acknowledged Instead Of Denied Or Spun By Alt-Media

The earlier mentioned piece about how Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishankar reaffirmed his country’s trust in Russia amidst claims of the latter drifting towards China touched on the existence of a pro-Chinese policymaking faction that arose within Russia over the past year. Its members believe that a return to bi-multipolarity is inevitable so they want to accelerate it by giving China’s superpower trajectory a boost as revenge against the US instead of balancing with India to no avail as they see it.

This piece from early April asking “Should Russia Have Invited China & India To Join Eurasian Security Talks At The Same Time?” shows that they’ve finally become influential. Late April’s article asking “Was Pepe Escobar Duped By A Foreign Spy Agency Into Spreading Fake News About Russia & Israel?” then rebrands that faction as pro-BRI to avoid any inadvertent innuendo of nefarious Chinese influence. Both relate to the present piece since this faction can exploit the new media push to advance their agenda.

To explain, their “friendly rivals” who currently call the shots can be described as balancers, and they’re loath to do anything that could seriously offend India. They’re afraid that doing so could spook Delhi into assuming that this was the result of Beijing’s disproportionate influence over Moscow, thus leading to India pivoting towards the US and therefore pushing Russia to do the same vis-à-vis China. A return to bi-multipolarity would then become inevitable to everyone’s detriment apart from the two superpowers’.

The greatest uncertainty in bilateral ties right now is whether Pakistan will be invited to participate in this year’s “Outreach”/“BRICS-Plus” event like Russian Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov implied in early March. He said that the Kremlin plans to invite the leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Union, and the SCO, but given the overlap between them, inviting SCO leaders is basically a backdoor for inviting Pakistan, which isn’t part of the first two or BRICS unlike all the others.

It was thought late last year that Russia wouldn’t risk seriously offending India by inviting Pakistan, and then Ushakov’s claim was interpreted as signaling that China isn’t the only one that can summon all SCO leaders, thus counteracting claims of Russia’s junior partnership to it. Upon dwelling on everything, however, it can’t be ruled out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi might informally boycott the event in protest, which could revive bi-multipolarity processes. Here’s how the thought process evolved:

* 24 November 2023: “Russia Will Only Extend Perfunctory Support For Pakistan’s Membership In BRICS

* 5 March 2024: “Russia’s ‘Outreach’/’BRICS Plus’ Invite To Pakistan Shouldn’t Ruffle India’s Feathers

* 9 March 2024: “Should Russia Reconsider Inviting Pakistan To Participate In ‘Outreach’/’BRICS Plus’?

These background briefings make it easier to understand the importance of the present piece. Singh’s article appeals to India’s pro-US faction, which is vying for replace the balancers’ role in calling the shots, while Vohra’s appeals to Russia’s pro-BRI one. Each is meant to mislead their respective expert audience into thinking that it’s not worth maintaining the Russian-Indian Strategic Partnership because Russia supposedly already defected to China while India supposedly already defected to the US.

Singh’s arguments are tailored to maximally fearmonger about China’s speculative influence over Russia among Indian experts whereas Vohra’s citing of prominent Indian defense and foreign policy experts is tailored to maximally fearmonger about the US’ speculative influence over India among Russian experts. The timing of these publications’ release by platforms that are read by foreign policy experts, their penning by Western-friendly Indian writers, and their narrative agenda suggests a level of coordination.

The intent is to sow the seeds of suspicion about the Russian-Indian Strategic Partnership by laundering speculation about Chinese and US influence over each respective party as supposed fact ahead of early July’s BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting that’s aimed at setting the agenda of October’s two summits. The West wants to tacitly assist Russia’s pro-BRI faction and India’s pro-US one so as to divide-and-rule these decades-long partners as a means of then returning the world to a form of Sino-US bi-multipolarity.

To be clear, Russia’s emergent faction is comprised of patriots who sincerely believe that their country’s objective national interests are best served by accelerating China’s superpower trajectory, but they can still be manipulated as the West’s “useful idiots” just like Prigozhin was as explained here. If they use what Vohra’s prominent Indian defense and foreign policy experts claimed to convince their balancing “rivals” that India already “defected” to the US, then the latter might agree to invite Pakistan to BRICS.

That could in turn be misinterpreted by India as the result of speculative Chinese influence over Russia along the lines of what Singh claimed, thus possibly leading to Prime Minister Modi informally boycotting October’s summit, which Russia might misinterpret as the result of speculative US influence over India. Bi-multipolarity might then return with a vengeance. It’s therefore imperative that Russia and India urgently clarify any misperceptions among them a soon as possible in order to avoid that dark future.

Source: the author’s blog

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