As the Syrian crisis intensifies, Russian President Vladimir Putin has dialled Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss ‘exclusive strategic partnership’ between the two ‘friendly’ nations.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has confirmed the news, saying in a statement that Moscow is all set to strike a strategic alliance with India in the changing global geopolitical landscape. According to the statement, President Putin and Prime Minister Modi decided to develop an “exclusive strategic bilateral partnership” to counter the US and its Western allies over the Syria issue. A senior PMO official said that the telephonic conversation took place immediately after US President Donald Trump threatened to use missiles against Russia on April 11.
The Indian foreign policy experts believe that it’s one of the important developments in recent times. They are of the opinion that the Indo-Russian relationship appears to be stronger than most, as PM Modi congratulated Putin on his re-election as Russian President in March. The Indian premier also expressed hope that the ‘Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership’ between the two nations would be strengthened under Putin’s leadership.
Even, Sonia Gandhi – the leader of Indian National Congress (INC – the main opposition party) – hailed the bilateral relationship, stressing that the South Asian nation would always remember Russia’s contribution in laying the foundations of India’s industrialisation. Gandhi further lauded Russia’s decision to back India during the Bangladesh War of Independence. “Moscow stood like a rock with India during New Delhi’s moment of grave crisis,” she told the press.
Although the Indian PMO didn’t release details of the latest phone call between Prime Minister Modi and President Putin, experts said that the formation of a closer alliance between Kremlin and New Delhi was inevitable, with tensions between Russia and the West escalating to a dangerous level. Perhaps, Moscow realises that the Indian PM can play a crucial role in current circumstances and help both Russia and the US avoid a war.
The situation deteriorated when President Putin threatened to shoot down US missiles fired at the Syrian forces after an alleged chemical attack on the West Asian country’s civilians on April 7. Later, President Trump tweeted: “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and smart! You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills people and enjoys it!”
India, who condemned the chemical attack on innocent civilians, has expressed serious concern over the Russia-US rivalry, saying that both the parties should make an attempt to restore peace in Syria. The top political leadership in New Delhi is also ready to help Moscow and Washington normalise the situation, as the Modi government is well aware of the fact that it will be difficult for President Trump to ignore India’s appeal at a time when India becomes a critical partner of the US in helping manage China’s rise, fighting terrorism in South Asia and providing maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region.
Now, it is up to the Modi administration to play the role of a game changer through careful diplomacy and balanced steps.
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