India Refuses to Join Washington’s Unipolar World
On March 3, the heads of state and government of the “Quad” grouping — Australia, India, Japan, United States – held an emergency video meeting. While Washington expected a united front to be formed and a statement to be issued condemning Russia and its invasion of Ukraine, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi refused to go along. He called instead for an end of hostilities and diplomacy. According to a report from Delhi’s Ministry of External Affairs, he insisted that the Quad remain focused on its core objective “of promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific”.
Just one day earlier at the United Nations General Assembly, India had refused to vote a non-binding censure of Russia over its military operation in Ukraine, joining with 34 other countries to abstain from the vote.
As a result of the independent stance of the Modi government, the Biden administration, which considers itself “the world’s only superpower”, has been exerting tremendous pressure on Delhi. To the point of threatening to impose sanctions because of India’s purchase of Russian military equipment. Thus, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian affairs, Donald Lu, told Congress on March 3 that “the administration is weighing how threatening India’s historically close military relationship with Russia is to U.S. security. It’s a question we’re looking at very closely, as the administration is looking at the broader question over whether to apply sanctions under CAATSA or to waive those sanctions.”
The CAATSA Act, passed in 2017 in the wake of the Russiagate lies about the Kremlin’s interference in U.S. elections, includes the authority to sanction transactions with Russian defense or intelligence sectors. Turkey was sanctioned under the law for buying Russian S-400 air defense systems.
Gilbert Doctorow, one of the world’s foremost experts on Russian affairs, took up the issue in an article on Antiwar.com on March 5. According to him, as important as the Feb. 4 Putin-Xi Jinping Joint Declaration was for giving Vladimir Putin the back-up to confront the U.S./U.K./Nato effort to place NATO weapons on Russia’s border, Putin’s earlier visit to India last Dec. 6 was of equal importance. There, Prime Minister Modi ignored the massive pressure from Washington and expanded the purchase of Russian military hardware, including the S-400 air defense system.
Doctorow wrote: “I would stress that the visit to India was no less important to Moscow than the visit to Beijing. Whereas the United States has for the past five years been applying ever greater efforts to de-couple from China and to implement a variety of military, political and economic policies to ‘contain’ the PRC, it has been at equally great pains to woo India away from its decades long friendship with Russia and to bring Delhi into active participation in the plans for ‘Indo-Pacific’ defense directed against the People’s Republic of China.”