The India-Russia leaders’ summit and ministerial meetings in New Delhi on Dec. 6, scored big. Differences were set aside to make transformative progress in defence, fintech and connectivity among other sectors, commencing a new era of India-Russia relations fit for the 21st century.
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The two nations should take a clear-eyed review of the current state of their ties with an emphasis on intensifying dialogue in the new sectors.
India and Russia are natural partners for energy collaboration. India imports 85% of its oil while Russia is one of the largest exporters. An expanded bilateral investment strategy, especially in liquefied natural gas can help Russia access new markets and India meet its energy requirements. This mutually beneficial collaboration can re-affirm trust between the two countries, amidst complex geopolitical realities.
The upcoming Summit for Democracy hosted by U.S. President Biden, has high expectations from him. With trust in the U.S. having suffered badly, it remains to be seen how much confidence the democracies at the summit will have in American efforts at restoration of world leadership.
On November 26, the first flight took off from Kushinagar Airport in Uttar Pradesh, set up to help Buddhist pilgrims reach the Mahaparinirvana Temple, where Lord Buddha attained nirvana. Promoting India's Buddhist legacy can lead New Delhi's effort to revive diplomacy between the SCO's eight member nations.
While several Bay of Bengal countries are rich in hydropower and thermal electricity generation, others are net energy importers with large markets. India can lead creative energy projects with its eastern neighbours, supported by regional and international institutions.
The new Omicron variant of COVID-19 has caused concern across the globe, especially in Africa. India has shown solidarity with the continent, extending supplies of Made in India vaccines, drugs and medical equipment. Despite some setbacks, there is vast potential for Indo-African collaboration based on strategic advantages and mutual goals.
The news of the EU's much-awaited Indo-Pacific strategy was overshadowed by the Australia-UK-U.S. military alliance, AUKUS. Eight weeks later, tempers are cooling off as the U.S and EU signed agreements at COP26. So, are transatlantic good times back on track? Has AUKUS put a permanent spanner in the wheel of the EU’s Indo-Pacific outreach?
On November 15, the presidents of the U.S and China met for the first time since Joe Biden was sworn in earlier this year. The main purpose was for the two heads of state to get to know each other and establish a line of communication. If this is Cold War 2.0, with similarities to, as well as differences, from Cold War 1.0, then what the Biden administration has in mind is something akin to détente, with some scope for cooperation, especially on climate change.
The Bay of Bengal is gaining relevance as a significant sub-region within the Indo-Pacific. Despite its importance to regional security, there is inadequate financial, physical, and energy connectivity. India must use its strategic and political pre-eminence and influence in the sub-region to pursue deeper connectivity with Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Nepal, and Sri Lanka and to block China's growing influence.