News

    India, Russia Struggle to Maintain Ties From Another Era

    As India appears to move closer to the United States, questions are being raised about the status of India's relationship with its long-time ally, Russia. VOA's Steve Herman reports from New Delhi on the current situation and where things may be headed.

    Since President Vladimir Putin's most recent visit here in January, Indian-Russian relations have had their ups and downs.

    Moscow is either asking for more money for a range of big-ticket items ordered by New Delhi, from jet fighters to an aircraft carrier, or more time to make promised deliveries.

    Energy-hungry India is fretting that a pair of 1,000 megawatt nuclear power plants will not be able to go on line until 2009, because Russia is dragging its feet in supplying crucial equipment.

    To add insult to injury, Russia has helped arm, albeit indirectly, India's main rival, Pakistan.

    Research fellow Reshmi Kazi at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies hopes that was an isolated incident.

    "One thing which I am really perturbed about is China supplied FC-1 fighter jets to Pakistan," said Kazi. "These planes are fitted with Russian engines. We all know what the situation in Pakistan is at present. I leave it to the wisdom of Russian foreign policy whether they would further indulge in such kind of deals."

    Russia, under President Putin, has not hesitated to use its resources as a political weapon, as when it cut oil and gas supplies to Europe. That has led some here to question whether Russia is using price hikes and delays in deliveries to signal its displeasure with the direction of Indian foreign policy.

    Analysts such as Brahma Chellaney of India's Center for Policy Research doubt that is the case, but Chellaney says Moscow is obviously worried about burgeoning commercial and military ties between India and the United States.

    "Moscow would be certainly concerned about this push by Washington to be a major supplier of high-tech weaponry to India, because the Indian market is the biggest weapons market in the world, [and] the [U.S.] entry will cut into the Russian share of the Indian weapons market," he said.

    During the Cold War, India was one of the Soviet Union's major allies outside the communist bloc, and received preferential treatment on the prices of Soviet military hardware.

    Even today, 70 percent of India's military equipment is stamped "Made in Russia." That percentage is certain to decrease, however, and not only because the Indian military constantly grumbles about the quality and reliability of Russian equipment and spare parts.

    Israel has emerged as one of India's top new military suppliers. Meanwhile, the United States and others are in competition with Russia to sell New Delhi 126 advanced jet fighters, a deal that will be worth somewhere between $7 and $11 billion.

    A purchase of American planes could be viewed by Moscow as lack of gratitude by India, after Soviet largesse allowed the country to build a military muscular enough to keep the Pakistanis and Chinese at bay for decades.

    On the other hand, Indians say, Russia has too quickly forgotten how purchases by India in the immediate post-Soviet era kept Russian shipyards and manufacturing plants afloat.

    Analyst Reshmi Kazi says Indians need to avoid over-analyzing every perceived slight by Moscow.

    "These are the critical moments where India needs to have that patience, not to allow such overblown interpretations to take place and soil the relationship, soil a bright prospect between the two democracies," added Kazi.

    However, Indian strategy experts, such as Brahma Chellaney, are optimistic that closer ties with the United States will not undermine the relationship between Moscow and New Delhi.

    "The Russia-India relationship, strategically, is not going to languish. In fact, I see that relationship picking up quite a bit of momentum in the years to come because China's rise has been largely at the expense of Russia," continued Chellaney. "And the Russian and Indian concerns center on China's growing assertiveness."

    China and India fought a brief border war in 1962, and there are lingering border disputes. Relations between Beijing and New Delhi have warmed in recent years, even if military leaders here are uncertain about the long-term intentions behind Beijing's military modernization.

    India's trade picture with China is brighter, and dwarfs Indian commercial activity with Russia by a nine-to-one ratio.

    The analysts say India's strategic goal is to engage in equal partnerships with such powers as the United States, European Union and Russia, while avoiding becoming too close to any one of them.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.