India’s much-touted and over-hyped policy of “multi-alignment” is seeming more and more like a cover for unconvincingly disguising the country’s strategic alliance the US, especially after its Ambassador to America strongly hinted that Modi will undertake an anti-Russian military pivot during his second term in office.
There’s little doubt that India will ditch Russia like it just recently did Iran after its Ambassador to America strongly hinted as much in an exclusive interview that he gave to CNBC. The South Asian state’s top diplomatic representative to the US told the outlet the following in an article provocatively headlined “India, facing sanctions for Russian arms deals, says it wants to pivot spending to the US“:
“There has been a tradition of dependence on defense equipment from Russia. But if you go by SIPRI figures, in the block year 2008 to 2013 we imported 76% of our defense items from Russia. In the next five-year block, from 2013 to 2018, this came down 58% and in the same period our imports from the United States increased by 569%. So that itself tells you that, when we have a choice…we are obviously diversifying our purchases.”
This is the clearest signal yet that Modi’s second term in office will be dedicated to prioritizing his country’s strategic alliance with the US, especially in the military sphere and most likely to both Russia and China’s detriment. About the first, India might go back on its deal to purchase the S-400s in order to avoid sanctions and replace them with THAADs, while for the second, its “Indo-Pacific” policy clearly aims to “contain” China.
India’s era of “multi-alignment” appears to be over, though it’s keeping this discredited slogan alive as a cover for unconvincingly disguising its strategic alliance with the US. This game-changing development will certainly complicate the regional geopolitical situation, but it also nevertheless provides the impetus for Russia to strengthen its ties with the global pivot state of Pakistan as the main component of its “Return to South Asia“.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.