Skip to main content

India’s Ukraine policy: Coping with dangers ahead if US, allies step up pressure?

By Bharat Dogra* 

The attention of the world is focused on Ukraine where a very serious crisis exists. This has understandably become the most serious concern of the foreign policy of all leading countries including India. 
It is no exaggeration to say that India’s foreign policy stalwarts are faced with one of the most complex and difficult situations. In such a situation it will be helpful if the Government makes a bigger effort to try to create a broad consensus on India’s Ukraine policy and the opposition responds favorably.
Let us look at the basic facts of the situation. Russia clearly made a mistake by invading Ukraine as invasions and wars should be treated more and more as outdated in a world faced by a serious survival crisis. With the kind of weapons that are used in modern wars, it takes very little for thousands to die and millions to be displaced within a few days.
Having said that the invasion was wrong, however, one must hasten to add that Russia has many legitimate grievances and its genuine security concerns as well as earlier assurances relating to these have been badly violated by the USA and NATO. Genuine concerns of Russia and their alarming neglect by the USA and NATO also have to be given due consideration in any balanced policy on Ukraine.
This would be true for the Ukraine policy and of any country but India has some additional concerns to take into account. Firstly, Russia has extended firm support to India in many difficult times. Its support was most invaluable during the 1971 crisis situation. 
The Pakistani army and its collaborators had been committing genocide in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan), and the use of this word to describe the alarming situation had been approved by the chief USA Representative in Dacca.
Several hundred thousand had been killed, several million had been displaced. India was planning to send its armed forces to stop this genocide and assist in the liberation of Bangladesh, but this faced extreme and irrational opposition from the Nixon-Kissinger duo who regarded Yahya Khan the Pakistani President as their great friend who could not be annoyed.
In these circumstances it was the great support of the USSR which played a very crucial role in the ability of India to overcome US hostility as well as potential of Chinese threat to achieve a truly overwhelming victory over Pakistan, ensuring the end of genocide and the liberation of Bangladesh.
In addition over the years India has developed important security and trade links with Russia, not to mention cultural and other close people to people contacts, which must be protected.
Therefore, while the invasion was not correct and some of Putin’s statements were also irresponsible, nevertheless India has adopted basically a correct position by refusing to condemn Russia at the United Nations, abstaining instead at the time of crucial voting.
The ability of Indian government to withstand US pressures so far persists, it has won praise from an unexpected place, China
While the government and the foreign minister deserve credit for this policy in the middle of increasing pressure from the USA and its allies, problems can increase if the USA and its allies increase their pressures further on India, thereby harming India’s national interests at the level of the economy and security. 
This is why it is important to try to establish a broader consensus on India’s Ukraine policy. Any hasty criticism of this policy without understanding the tremendous pressures within which our diplomats are functioning at the moment would not be considered a sign of maturity.
The ability of the Indian government to withstand US pressures so far and persist with an independent foreign policy has won praise from an unexpected place -- China. If these lead to further openings and a new situation in which India can settle its border and other differences with China in friendly conditions this would be a great breakthrough.
These two countries have simply too much to gain from mutual cooperation but this tremendous potential has just not been realized. China has been more to blame for this sad situation and if it takes a sincere initiative now to make a new beginning this should be widely welcomed as long as there are sure signs of sincerity.
Overall India has everything to gain and nothing to lose from emerging again as a leader of the policy and movement of new-alignment at world level. Its further efforts should be in this direction.
*Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now; recent books include “Planet in Peril” and “Protecting Earth for Children”



Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Examples of support to Hindu temples, scriptures, saints by 'Muslim' rulers galore

Siya Ram coin issued by Akbar By Bharat Dogra* At a time when the country as well as the world are passing through very difficult times leading to more urgent need for strengthening national unity for meeting several big challenges ahead, unfortunately disputes relating to religious places have been allowed to raise their ugly head once again. It is well-realized by now by many people that it is not historical facts but narrow considerations of political gain and spreading of fanatic ideas of intolerance which are behind such mischief, but due to the increasing threat of mob violence and patronage available at higher levels to groups spreading intolerance many people are reluctant to openly and fearlessly express their views. Hence there is urgent need for broad-based peace committees with wider social support to spread the message of communal harmony and to appeal against the dangers of spreading false messages regarding places of worship which can ultimate

This varsity succumbed to extra-academic mobocracy, 'ignored' Hindutva archives

By Shamsul Islam* Open letter to Sharda University vice-chancellor Sub: Discarding a Question on Linkages of Hindutva with Nazism/Fascism is blatant Academic Dishonesty! Dear Professor Sibaram Khara Saheb, Namaskaar! According to your esteemed University’s portal: “The name of University, 'Sharda' is synonymous to 'Goddess of knowledge and learning-Saraswati'. She is identified with 'veena', an Indian musical instrument and the ‘lotus’, where she resides. The lotus in our logo symbolizes the seat of learning that the University is created for.  "Variety of colours signify the variety of disciplines the university offers and the overlap between petals creating new colours demonstrate the ethos of collaboration between students and teachers of different programme, nationality, creed and colour working towards creating new knowledge…the University's cherished mission to provide education beyond boundaries and to facilitate the students and faculty to achie

Whither climate goal? Increasing reliance on coal 'likely to worsen' India's power crisis

By Shankar Sharma*  Recent news articles, How to shock-proof India’s power sector and Power minister points finger at states for worsening electricity crisis , have highlighted a few current problems for the ongoing power sector issues as in April 2022. However, there is a lot more to it than a few temporary solutions as indicated in the articles. It should also be emphasised that it is techno-economically impossible to completely shock-proof a highly complex and geographically wide-spread vast power network, such as the one in India, which is only getting more and more complex with the passage of each year due to some irrational policies/ practices in the sector. A business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, wherein more and more of conventional technology power plants, including coal power plants, will be added in the near future, will also necessitate the increased complexity in the integrated national grid, and as a result the instances of power shortage/ disruptions can only escalate for

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Dalit scholar's comment on Lord Shiva 'harming' Muslims, 'damaging' secular cause

Shahid Siddiqui, Bobby Naqvi By Our Representative   Bobby Naqvi, who is with the "Gulf News", and is a well-known name among Muslim intellectuals, strongly objecting to the social media post of Prof Ratan Lal, has said that "a big reason for majoritarian hatred against Muslims is irresponsible remarks by people like Prof Ratan Lal of Delhi University." In a Facebook comment , which has attracted paise, among others, from journaliat-politician Shahid Siddiqui, Naqvi said, "Their commentary on Hinduism and icons of Hinduism (while angering religious and liberal Hindus alike) also triggers a massive backlash against Muslims. When the likes of Prof Lal criticize Hinduism on social media, Hindus bring Islam and Islamic practices and ask 'what about this' or 'what about that'." Naqvi insists, "Muslims (without their fault) and Islam get caught in this crossfire between the so called Hindu liberal class and the religious Hindus. And the ult

Why there's strong likelihood India may resurrect its presence in Afghan capital

By Anand K Sahay* Since India evacuated its mission in Afghanistan once the Taliban re-took Kabul last August practically under American aegis, following what came to be called the Taliban’s Doha “negotiations” with the US, New Delhi is evidently doing a re-think. It is considered likely that an Indian representation will soon be restored in Kabul, even if this will be small and not at the level of ambassador. This is reflective of realistic thinking. Of course, there can be no question at present of according recognition to the Taliban regime. That is likely to happen when a broad consensus amongst the leading powers emerges. Currently the Taliban government is not helping its own cause of gaining world recognition- which will help it access overseas funds at a time when the country is in dire straits- by imposing severe restrictions on women and girls in serious violation of human rights. More basic is the issue that the Taliban regime is not considered r

Message to 'high caste' attackers? Dalit leader's daughter rides elephant in wedding march

By Our Representative  In what has been termed as “jumbo celebration”, a Gujarat Dalit rights leader belonging to Saurashtra region ensured that his daughter rides an elephant as part of wedding celebrations which took place in Vadhwan town of Surendranagar district. Natubhai Parmar, who shot into prominence for organising a unique protest against the notorious Una flogging incident in 2016, in which five Dalit boys were flogged as they allegedly slaughtered a cow. Belonging to the Rohit community, whose traditionally live by skinning dead cows, in 2016, Parmar reached Surendranagar district collector’s office with vehicles full of carcasses of cows asking him to organise them disposal of, declaring, his community had decided not to continue with the caste occupation, as it had been termed cow slaughter by saffron vigilantes. The decision to make his daughter ride the elephant, which he brought to Ahmedabad, was to send a message to members of the dominant castes, whose aggressive atta

Govt of India 'ignores' GMO regulation, 'overlooks' Constitutional process

Counterview Desk Dr Narasimha Reddy Donthi, independent public policy expert, in a letter to Nareshpal Gangwar, additional secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), New Delhi, has expressed “seriously concern” that a recent office memorandum (OM) has sought to exempt certain types of gene-edited plants from the country's genetically modified organism  (GMO) regulations, without any reason or basis or representation. Dr Reddy regretted, “Such a serious decision, with an impact scale of unimaginable proportions, in terms of time and ecology, is being pushed through an ordinary office memorandum”, insisting, “This is circumvention of the processes enshrined in Indian Constitution, which has defined democratic participation in matters of critical importance.” Stating that the exemption from regulation is a policy decision and has legal implications, he demanded immediate withdrawal the OM, insisting, the government should take a "strong stand again

Govt of India 'compromising' on mandate to regulate gene technologies, protect nature

Counterview Desk  In a letter sent to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and other related ministries and departments, the Coalition for a GM-Free India has raised "serious concern" over the guidelines notified for Genome Edited Organisms, in which major exemptions from regulations have been offered to certain categories of Genome Edited Organisms/Plants and products. A letter signed by Sridhar Radhakrishnan and Kapil Shah, co-convenors of the NGO network, addressed to Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Bhupender Yadav, said, the Office Memorandum, dated May 17, 2022 of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology about Safety Assessment Guidelines, which follows the Office Memorandum dated March 30, 2022 of the MoEFCC, said, the move "essentially amounts to entry of risky GMOs through the backdoor. Text : Coalition for a  GM-Free India is a national volunteer-driven platform of hundre