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  • A Singh

It’s no secret that India under Modi panders to Russia, its Cold War ally

It’s no secret that the Indian prime minister uses his photo-ops and warm embraces with the “white” heads of government and state for his own campaign to project himself as the “Vishwaguru – The Master of the World.”

It’s no secret either that Modi, who is friends with two of India’s wealthiest tycoons with significant business interests in China, avoids escalating New Delhi’s border dispute with Beijing.

Official data show India-China bilateral trade grew by 90.14% from 2015 to 2022.

In 2022, the overall trade with China increased by 8.47% year-on-year, reaching USD 136.26 billion, crossing the USD 100-billion mark for a second time in a row.

Moreover, their trade deficit came in at USD 101.28 billion, as India’s imports from China witnessed an increase of 118.77% to reach USD 118.77 billion.

India’s exports to China decreased by 37.59% year-on-year, reaching USD 17.49 billion, down from net exports of USD 28.03 billion in 2021.

India also boasts about its imports of Russian crude. Indian refiners have been importing discounted Russian oil since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

Moscow has since become India’s leading source of crude oil, accounting for about 40% of its total crude imports.

“By importing from Russia, India has also helped the global economy by freeing up some oil in the Gulf for other countries to source, particularly Europe. So, it was kind of a win-win situation,” K.C. Ramesh, executive director of India’s No. 1 oil company, ONGC, said at the annual APPEC energy conference held by S&P Global Insights in Singapore in early September.

In 2021, an unclassified report by the U.S. intelligence community revealed Russia sought to help former President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the report, authorized "influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden's candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating socio-political divisions in the US."

But Putin’s ally, Modi, had gone many steps ahead.

In 2019, Modi virtually campaigned for Trump at the “Howdy Modi” rally in Houston, drawing 50,000 people, mainly Indian Americans.

The Indian leader cheered for the US president’s re-election in Houston.


Paramjit Singh is a freelance writer, avid reader, content creator and travels all over Asia. Currently lives in Virginia. His twitter handle is @ParamjeetT42915



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