- India was able to manage its options well during the initial phases of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, wherein the two sides were seeking India’s support for their positions in the ongoing war. India took a neutral stand and this stand seemed to propel India to the centre stage of global attention.
- However, the prolonged war would no doubt adversely impact India’s interests in the long term by diminishing the options available to India.
- The following factors could prove detrimental to India’s interests.
Diminishing Russian influence:
- India would not be able to rely on Russia any longer as a key strategic partner for balancing purposes. The lack of definitive victory in the conflict seems to have made Russia more dependent on India today than the other way round. Hence, Russia would no longer be available for India’s pursuit of its regional interests. Also, there are concerns that in the longer run, a war-fatigued and weakened Russia will become a junior partner to China.
Growing Chinese influence:
- Russia’s focus on its western borders would result in Russia’s absence from the Asian balance of power equations. This would only result in enhancing Chinese influence in the region which has been busy consolidating the region under its influence. China has been making inroads into the Central Asian region through enhanced economic relations.
Shifting focus of the Western world:
- The diversion of the interests of the United States and its western partners towards eastern Ukraine would limit their attention towards their Indo-Pacific policy and containment of China. This could result in the weakening of the American influence in the Southern Asian region and the ability to produce favourable geopolitical outcomes for India in the region. This would give China a free hand in the region’s geopolitics.