. Recently, Indian Defence minister visited Russia to commemorate World War II Victory Day. The defence minister also asked Russia to speed up its delivery of the first lot of the S-400 air defence system. However, Russia’s leverage and influence to shape and change China’s hard stance on border issues remain a key element of India’s foreign policy goal vis-a-vis relations with Russia. Though India and Russia share a long history of strategic and economic cooperation, the post-Cold war Russia and China strategic convergence remains a foreign policy issue for India.
This should not come as a surprise. Russia is not the Soviet Union. Its economy is half the size of India and its enormous economic relationship with China is essential to its prosperity. The two have a crude geopolitical convergence in their common antagonism towards the United States. Moscow supplies arms and hydrocarbons to both India and China. Russia is powerful enough to maintain relationships with both, but not strong enough to choose between them.
India has already begun seeking to reset its relationship, especially as the defence element is starting to fade. Energy and strategic minerals are now rising in importance between the two countries and this is evident in the bilateral investment figures. Moscow still wields a veto in the United Nations and will remain a diplomatic partner in many areas. More differences will crop up, as is evident already over Afghanistan, as the knob on bilateral ties is turned down from special to normal. All this flows naturally from a changing global order and New Delhi should adjust its policies without sentiment.