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Debunking The Stimson Center’s Drivel About India Supposedly Drifting Away From Russia
The Stimson Center’s latest report on Russian-Indian relations is so chock-full of misleading claims that it can objectively be described as a disinformation product intended to manipulate its targeted audience’s perceptions about this subject. This think tank’s partial funding by the US Government should have already raised suspicions about its agenda, which this fact-check proves is driven by the desire to divide-and-rule Russia and India to the benefit of its financial patron.
The partially US Government-funded Stimson Center just published a wildly inaccurate assessment of Russian-Indian relations in its latest report titled “Continental Drift? India-Russia Ties After One Year of War in Ukraine”. There are so many misleading claims contained within the text that the present piece is entirely devoted to debunking its authors’ drivel on this subject. What follows is a point-by-point fact-check aimed at correcting its targeted audience’s perceptions about their ties.
1. Claim: “Russia’s poor performance in the war, its constrained ability to produce arms post-Western sanctions, and its global isolation have forced a debate within the Indian strategic establishment about the future utility of Russia as a strategic partner.”
- Truth: Russia continues to make on-the-ground gains around the hugely significant city of Artyomovsk/“Bakhmut”, still has such a strong military-industrial complex that it’s competing with all of NATO in a “race of logistics”, and the New York Times recently admitted that it isn’t “isolated”.
2. Claim: “Domestically, the war has raised concerns about food, fuel, and fertilizer insecurity.”
3. Claim: “Internationally, India has had to balance its support for the principle of territorial sovereignty and integrity with a hesitancy to vote against Russia at the UN.”
- Truth: Abstaining from anti-Russian resolutions at the UN doesn’t erode India’s support for whichever principle it may be, but rather reinforces it by placing Delhi in a position to mediate if requested to.
4. Claim: “The war has also turned India’s primarily Soviet/Russian-origin military equipment into a liability due to concerns over battlefield performance and availability challenges.”
5. Claim: “Most worryingly for Delhi, the war has delayed the delivery of prized S-400 air defense systems.”
6. Claim: “In addition, about two months after the war began, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh added 101 items, many of which were previously sourced from Russia, to a growing list of defense equipment that will now be produced indigenously.”
- Truth: India’s defense indigenization policy is part of its grand strategic goal to comprehensively strengthen its sovereignty and isn’t directed against any third parties like Russia, which is actually cooperating with it to produce various equipment within that country’s borders per this same policy.
7. Claim: “While their announcement of a ‘no limits’ partnership preceded the war, the past year has only solidified Russia-China ties and brought into stark relief an outcome Delhi has been actively working to thwart: Moscow becoming more dependent on Beijing.”
- Truth: “Speculation About Russia Becoming A Chinese Puppet Ignores India’s Decisive Balancing Role”, which has preemptively averted Moscow’s potentially disproportionate dependence on Beijing by having Delhi serve as the Kremlin’s counterweight to the People’s Republic in the strategic sense.
8. Claim: “Delhi has traditionally pursued a wedge strategy vis a vis Russia and China, seeking to incentivize Moscow’s neutrality in an India-China standoff while securing its own immediate defense needs.”
- Truth: The authors hyperlinked to this Foreign Affairs article in support of their claim about India’s so-called “wedge strategy”, which was comprehensively responded to here, and it should also be added that there’s no basis for speculating that Russia would ever take China’s side over India’s anyhow.
9. Claim: “However, in the wake of the Ukraine war, many Indian analysts rightly observe that this strategy may have outlived its utility. Instead, they argue that India must prepare for a weakened Russia that is more beholden to China and could be pushed to take actions inimical to India’s interests, such as holding back emergency defense articles.”
- Truth: The “many analysts” that the authors hyperlinked to are just Harsh V. Pant and C. Raja Mohan, the first of whom’s thematically related article was responded to here while the latter’s cited one was responded to here, are they’re both known to represent the pro-Western worldview embraced by their fellow Indian intellectuals who lobby for their country to comply with the US’ demands to ditch Russia.
10. Claim: “The Indian debate on whether it still possesses meaningful mechanisms of influence over Moscow to prevent a Russian drift toward China has still not been resolved. Indeed, India has a degree of economic leverage over Russia, as one of its few remaining non-China economic partners.”
- Truth: It’s flat-out false to imply that India is weaponizing its economic ties with Russia in order to meddle in its strategic partner’s relations with any third country like China, which is unnecessary in that example anyhow since Russia would never take China’s side over India’s.
11. Claim: “Further, going against the grain of established Indian diplomatic behavior of not publicly criticizing a partner, Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a rare public rebuke of Russia when he cautioned President Vladimir Putin that ‘today’s era is not one of war.’”
- Truth: “Modi’s Peacenik Approach Towards Putin Aligns With India’s Principled Neutrality” and shouldn’t be interpreted as a so-called “rare public rebuke of Russia’, which was confirmed by former Indian Ambassador to Russia Kanwal Sibal and Russian Ambassador to India Denis Alipov.
12. Claim: “In December, Modi cancelled his one-on-one summit with Putin, a standing annual bilateral summit that has been a fixture of the Indian diplomatic calendar for the last two decades.”
- Truth: “It’s Actually Not A Big Deal That Modi Didn’t Visit Moscow Last Year” since their strategic partnership unprecedentedly strengthened across all dimensions since the special operation began.
13. Claim: “Most recently, at the G-20 Finance Ministers’ meeting in late February and the G-20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in early March, India called attention to the negative ramifications of the war in the chair’s summary despite Russian and Chinese efforts to resist inclusion of such language in the statement.”
- Truth: “India’s Chairmanship Of The G20 Has Been Exemplary” considering that the New Cold War competition between the US-led West’s Golden Billion and the Sino-Russo Entente made it impossible for those two de facto blocs to agree on the joint statement’s reference to the Ukrainian Conflict, which isn’t any fault of India’s own and shouldn’t be interpreted as directed against this year’s host.
14. Claim: “Moreover, India hosted the Voices of the Global South Summit in early January, where it vociferously highlighted the war’s negative impacts on global fuel and food prices.”
- Truth: The above claim misleadingly implies that India extended credence at that event to the West’s false information warfare narrative alleging Russian culpability for those crises, which isn’t true.
15. Claim: “India’s relationship with Russia is need-based and not values-based, and over the past year, Delhi has subtly shifted away from Russia in both rhetoric and tactics.”
- Truth: The conclusion about India’s ties with Russia was discredited by this piece, just like the innuendo about ties with the US being values-based by contrast was discredited by its neutrality at the UN.
As can be seen, the Stimson Center’s latest report on Russian-Indian relations is so chock-full of misleading claims that it can objectively be described as a disinformation product intended to manipulate its targeted audience’s perceptions about this subject. This think tank’s partial funding by the US Government should have already raised suspicions about its agenda, which this fact-check proves is driven by the desire to divide-and-rule Russia and India to the benefit of its financial patron.