The Limitations of India and Russia’s Transactional Relationship

Since Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, it might seem as though ties between India and Russia have strengthened. While much of the West isolated Russia, India-Russia energy trade spiked, and India made efforts to accommodate Russia on the world stage. The two countries have also had visible public exchanges, such as a mid-January phone call between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s trip to Moscow at the end of 2023.

Yet such public displays of bonhomie appear to have mostly enforced transactional trade ties and maintained previous deals, with few new strategic outcomes for the relationship. In the year ahead, how India balances its relationship with Russia will continue to be shaped by Russia’s declining international standing and strengthening relationship with China, India’s growing ties with the United States, and Russia’s evolving role in the Indo-Pacific and Eurasia.


This piece was published on the USIP website on February 22, 2024, on the second anniversary of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

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