Lavrov Explained Why The US Hasn’t Successfully Pressured India Into Sanctioning Russia
The failure of the US’ pressure campaign against India is instructive because it serves as an example for why its related efforts against other major countries haven’t succeeded as well.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov gave a speech on Thursday to students at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, more commonly known by its Russian abbreviation as MGIMO and run by the Russian Foreign Ministry, to commemorate the start of the academic year. It was wide-ranging and also included a detailed question & answer session, during which time he explained why the US hasn’t successfully pressured India and other major countries like China, Egypt, and Indonesia into sanctioning Russia. According to this top diplomat:
“The West says now that it should force the entire world to stop cooperating with Russia and to impose sanctions. It would be a different matter if they did it quietly, but this is their pet project, they are so proud of it that they make public statements to the effect that they demand that some countries introduce anti-Russian sanctions or they will be punished.
From the point of view of common sense, let alone diplomacy, how can such arrogant public statements be made towards such countries as India, China, Turkey, Egypt or Indonesia? When these countries are threatened publicly, does nobody understand that these civilisations have their dignity and self-respect?
It is insulting to hear such demands. Even if it was said privately, it would still have been an offence against good manners. When great states are being told that they must do something on orders from somebody across the ocean, I can only imagine what long-term harm it can deal to the relations with those who are trying to impose their will.”
Put simply, this aggressive policy was doomed to fail once the US decided to publicly make such demands of those countries since there’s no way that their multipolar and self-respecting leaderships would ever show their people that they capitulated to a foreign power halfway across the world. It still would have still failed had those diktats been made behind closed doors, but at least bilateral relations wouldn’t have suffered like they clearly have in the case of Indian-American ones, especially after State Department spokesman Price declared that the US will continue meddling in Indian foreign policy.
Since India was the subject of the question that Lavrov was asked, which was actually geared towards discussing their bilateral relations more broadly and only then did the Foreign Minister segue into making the point that was cited above, it’s also important to summarize some of his other insight too. He reaffirmed India’s key place in Russian grand strategy, after which the top diplomat shared a few words about the evolution of their special and privileged strategic partnership, including how it came to officially be described as such upon Delhi’s request.
Their ties are comprehensive, mutually beneficial, and always strengthening, which is precisely why he felt comfortable confidently stating that “India does not want to join the sanctions. The Indian leaders, including my colleague, the Foreign Minister, have publicly rejected all attempts to involve them in the restrictions on purchasing Russian energy. They said clearly that they will act in line with their own interests.” From India’s perspective, Russia is the Eurasian anchor of its dual-tripolarity grand strategy, whose potentially disproportionate dependence on China must be preemptively averted at all costs.
That explains why Delhi decisively intervened after the latest US-provoked phase of the Ukrainian Conflict began half a year ago to become Moscow’s irreplaceable valve from Western pressure so that it wouldn’t risk entering into such a lopsided relationship with Beijing. Lavrov also mentioned that “There has been a recent article of an Indian political scientist and economist that explains why India will not join the American sanctions. He says it is not only a matter of economic interests, but also the shared history of Russia and India, and the deep respect that India has for the role that Russia played in the fight for India’s independence and in the development of its own economy.”
The deep respect that the cited article touch upon is a reference to the emotional element of the Russian-Indian Strategic Partnership, which undergirds its decades-long existence and ensures its future success despite whatever disagreements might arise in their relationship. About those, the Indian Ambassador to Russia told Sputnik in mid-August that they’re always resolved discretely, which can be interpreted as tacitly contrasting with the US’ preferred method of publicly dramatizing their disagreements, especially over Russia.
The failure of the US’ pressure campaign against India is instructive because it serves as an example for why its related efforts against other major countries haven’t succeeded as well. Those major countries that it’s aggressively attempting to coerce into sanctioning Russia have legitimate strategic reasons for why they’ve refused to capitulate to this declining unipolar hegemon’s demands. They’re all in support of the global systemic transition to multipolarity, which they regard as irreversible, hence why it doesn’t make sense from their perspective to side with the US against Russia.
Not only that, but they each have their own economic interests to consider as well, even those that don’t directly relate to Russia. For instance, complying with the US’ demands against Russia would send a worrying signal to China, whose global influence is much more powerful by virtue of its unparalleled economic strength. The People’s Republic might therefore rightly regard the state in question as a newfound American vassal, which could in turn worsen their bilateral relations since Beijing would have grounds for not trusting that their ties will remain outside the influence of third parties like the US.
Just like India, each of those other countries that Lavrov mentioned in his example also enjoy historical ties with Russia too, albeit to varying extents that manifested themselves in different ways across the decades. That Eurasian Great Power is therefore genuinely popular in their societies so going against it for no reason at all just to please a declining unipolar hegemon halfway across the world could prompt their citizens to second-guess their leaders’ policymaking wisdom and thus their overall independence. As such, it’s much better from their domestic political perspective not to needlessly “rock the boat”.
Altogether, the US hasn’t successfully pressured India, China, Egypt, Indonesia, and many other major countries into sanctioning Russia for several reasons, but mostly because it tried publicly humiliating their leaderships into unilaterally conceding on a very sensitive issue that they regard as being in their objective national interests. This doomed that policy to failure, but it still wouldn’t have borne fruit even if it had been pursued solely behind closed doors since even suggesting as much would have stained their bilateral relations for years to come. Alas, the US has yet to learn these very obvious lessons.