Russia’s Reported Request For India To Scale Exports By 5x Is Strategically Significant
Russia isn’t “decoupling” from China, but is actively diversifying from it with the intent of sustainably averting the scenario of its potentially disproportionate dependence on the People’s Republic that was earlier offset by India serving as Russia’s alternative valve from Western pressure. Comprehensively expanding economic connectivity with India via the North-South Transport Corridor complements Russia’s related efforts with Iran to pioneer a New Eurasian Axis for accelerating multipolar trends.
Reuters’ Revelatory Report
Reuters reported earlier this week that Russia shared a 14-page wish list of over 500 industrial products and raw materials with India that it hopes its partner will prioritize exporting in the near future. The outlet’s unnamed sources claimed that this includes “parts for cars, aircraft and trains” as well as “raw materials to produce paper, paper bags and consumer packaging and materials and equipment to produce textiles including yarns and dyes.”
Neither side reacted to the report, but Reuters shared the following figures that suggest India’s interest in fulfilling the request: “Indian imports from Russia have grown nearly five times to $29 billion between Feb. 24 and Nov. 20 compared with $6 billion in the same period a year ago. Exports, meanwhile, have fallen to $1.9 billion from $2.4 billion, the source said. India is hoping to boost its exports to nearly $10 billion over coming months with Russia's list of requests, according to the government source.”
This data shows that Russia is basically requesting that India scale its exports by a factor of five, which would help meet Moscow’s material needs in the face of Western sanctions while also helping Delhi deal with their growing trade deficit. Economic interests aren’t the only ones that would be served by having this happen, however, since the reported wish list is actually strategically significant in the larger context of the New Cold War.
India’s Rise As A Globally Significant Great Power
India’s principled neutrality towards the Ukrainian Conflict, which is the top proxy war right now in the worldwide struggle between the US-led West’s Golden Billion and the jointly BRICS- & SCO-led Global South over the course of the global systemic transition, has been responsible for this South Asian state’s astronomical rise as a globally significant Great Power. Those readers who haven’t yet realized this should review the following analyses in order to get up to speed:
* “Three Recent Articles Prove That The World Is Finally Appreciating India’s Balancing Act”
* “Analyzing The US-Chinese-Russian-Indian Interplay In The Global Systemic Transition”
* “’Live With It’: India’s Candid Response To Western Criticism Of Its Russia Policy”
* “The Economist Is Wrong: India Isn’t ‘Reliably Unreliable’”
* “Korybko To Rajagopalan: India’s Principled Neutrality Does Indeed Ensure Its Security”
The last piece includes a list of nearly four dozen related analyses for those intrepid readers who want to learn more about how the Russian-Indian Strategic Partnership literally changed the course of global affairs. Among those with the most direct pertinence to the present article is the enumerated one about how “Russia, Iran, And India Are Creating A Third Pole Of Influence In International Relations”, which takes on a heightened importance in light of a recent statement by a leading Iranian official.
The New Eurasian Axis
Head of the country’s Trade Promotion Organization Alireza Peyman-Pak said at the International Forum-Exhibition Russian Industrialist that “We have reached framework agreements on the issues of joint projects on construction and designing, joint designing and production of turbines, shipbuilding, rolling stock, helicopters and aircraft construction, jets, as well as tractors and agriculture equipment.” This disclosure complements the list of requests that Russia reportedly gave India.
Pairing the two together, it becomes clear that Russia aims to accelerate the emerging comprehensive economic connectivity between itself, India, and Iran by having its two Great Power partners export their wares to it along the North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC). That route is envisaged as forming the physical basis of a New Eurasian Axis that’ll maximize Russia’s balancing capabilities vis a vis China by sustainably averting the scenario of potentially becoming disproportionately dependent on that country.
That possibility was already offset by India serving as Russia’s alternative valve from Western sanctions pressure at the onset of its special operation and thus preemptively eliminating that scenario from the strategic equation, but it must be tangibly sustained, ergo Moscow’s plans to accelerate comprehensive economic connectivity with Delhi via the NSTC as driven by its reported list of requests. To sweeten the deal, there’s also the chance of adding an enticing energy dimension to this emerging axis as well.
Last summer’s report that Gazprom committed to investing $40 billion in the Iranian energy sector greatly raised the likelihood of resource swaps between them for more efficiently meeting India’s burgeoning needs. The trilateral gas union that President Putin proposed earlier this week during a meeting with his Kazakh counterpart between their countries and Uzbekistan could complement the aforesaid by facilitating the construction of a trans-Afghan pipeline to India via Pakistan.
This assessment was shared by Alexey Grivach, who’s deputy head of the National Energy Security Fund and an expert at the prestigious Valdai Club, which is widely acknowledged as Russia’s most influential think tank. According to him, “in order to (directly) access [the South Asian market], we need to involve Turkmenistan in the project and solve security problem in Afghanistan. Work in this direction is already underway, but it is obvious that this is a very difficult task.”
That insight adds deeper context to Russia’s friendly ties with the Taliban and its rapprochement with Pakistan over the past half-decade, the first of which regards that Eurasian Great Power as the priority partner for its geo-economic balancing act while the second retained pragmatic relations with Moscow in spite of April’s US-orchestrated post-modern coup and remains interested in clinching energy deals. As Grivach said, “this is a very difficult task”, but it’s not impossible and would help India if it succeeds.
The purpose in drawing attention to the abovementioned possibilities is to point out that Russia is comprehensively prioritizing connectivity between the Northern and Southern halves of Eurasia in order to complement existing East-West corridors, which also serves to more sustainably balance China. Russia’s energy geopolitics with China and India are mutually beneficial, but the overall trend is that India is rapidly replacing China as Russia’s most reliable partner in the world.
India Is More Reliable Of A Partner For Russia Than China Is
China’s tacit compliance with the anti-Russian sanctions and its reported pause of oil imports ahead of the West’s looming price cap (despite the latter only being miniscule compared to pipeline imports) are occurring amidst its discussions with the US over a New Détente. Those talks were catalyzed by the systemic consequences of the Ukrainian Conflict compounding prior such ones from the trade war and COVID to make the People’s Republic more strategically vulnerable than at any time in the past 50 years.
To be absolutely clear, the potential outcome of these two superpowers agreeing to a series of mutual compromises aimed at restoring the balance of interests between them isn’t expected to occur at the expense of China’s strategic relations with Russia. Nevertheless, Moscow is cognizant of these emerging dynamics and understandably seeks to proactively rebalance its interests accordingly in order to hedge against latent risks, hence the eagerness with which it envisages economically scaling ties with India.
That South Asian state rebuffed all US pressure to distance itself from Russia and instead redoubled its commitment to comprehensively expanding strategic relations with Moscow in spite of Delhi’s closeness with the Golden Billion. By contrast, in spite of China’s closeness with Russia, it tacitly complies with the anti-Russian sanctions and is now in discussions with the US over “normalizing” their relations. Neither India nor China is “betraying” the US or Russia, though, as each is just rebalancing their grand strategies.
Discrediting Speculation About A Russian-Chinese “Decoupling”
The global systemic transition to multipolarity far predated the special operation that Russia was provoked by NATO into commencing in Ukraine but was unprecedentedly accelerated by it, after which chaotic processes multiplied across the world and led to unexpected reactions from key players. Nobody foresaw that India would swoop in to preemptively avert Russia’s potentially disproportionate dependence on China, nor did anyone predict that China would later try to patch up its ties with the US.
These two interconnected developments can both be described as among the most meaningful black swans to emerge from the latest phase of the Ukrainian Conflict in that nobody expected them yet they ultimately ended up having major impacts on the course of International Relations. Returning to the news event that inspired the present piece, this is the grand strategic context within which Russia reportedly requested India to scale up its exports by five times.
That Eurasian Great Power isn’t “decoupling” from the People’s Republic, but is actively diversifying from it with the intent of sustainably averting the scenario of its potentially disproportionate dependence on China that was earlier offset by India serving as Russia’s alternative valve from Western pressure. Comprehensively expanding economic connectivity with India via the NSTC complements Russia’s related efforts with Iran to pioneer a New Eurasian Axis for accelerating multipolar trends.
The envisaged outcome is for these three partners to collectively form a third pole of influence in the emerging world order for dealing a deathblow to the Sino-American superpower duopoly’s hitherto de facto management of International Relations via their system of bi-multipolarity. They each have a stake in the global systemic transition overcoming that aforementioned impasse in order to continue its evolution towards tripolarity ahead of its final form of more complex multipolarity (“multiplexity”).
Just like the ongoing discussions between China and the US over a New Détente aren’t intended by Beijing to be at either Russia, India, or Iran’s expense, nor are those three’s coordinated moves towards tripolarity/multiplexity intended to be at China’s. By virtue of China practically being a superpower and those three being Great Powers, they naturally have different systemic interests due to their different places in the de facto international hierarchy.
These are the grand strategic dynamics as they arguably exist, the detailed analysis of which throughout the course of the present piece should hopefully imbue observers with a deeper understanding of each party’s related interests. Neither should be judged or suspected of “betraying” the other since they’re simply pursuing their interests as they understand them to be. All four still remain committed the spirit of multipolarity, they’re just going about it differently, which should be acknowledged and not denied.