In an interesting comment, China’s official mouthpiece Global Times praised India for prioritising “national interest” in resisting western pressure to support sanctions against Russia and said it has pursued the path of strategic autonomy.
The report argued that India’s refusal to tow the US line is indicative of America’s inability to influence or bend opinion of other nations. This is in line with China’s claims that the West has grown “arrogant” and over-estimates its ability to coerce other nations.
Though China has had a word of praise for Indian’s policy on Ukraine before too, the article echoes the views of former Pakistan PM Imran Khan who said that India has shown that it can hold its own and carve a policy path in keeping with its strategic autonomy.
Both Beijing and Khan have their reasons to commend India but there is an acknowledgement that New Delhi will stand up for its interests, which can be read as oblique praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership.
“During the Russia-Ukraine conflict, India did not participate in the West-initiated sanctions campaign against Russia, nor did it stop its trade with Moscow. Not only that, India increased its energy imports from Russia with a lower price. As a member of the Quad, India refuses to dance to the US beat.
“This must have embarrassed the US. But with whom India trades with does not depend on the US, but India’s interests. If New Delhi had not held this position, it would be now suffering from an energy crisis like in Europe, and have to pay for energy and gas at four times above US market prices.”
The objective of the article is to underline that nations who succumbed to the US pressure would find their economies in dire straits. India had more wisely negotiated a space to keep its energy options open. In fact, the recovery in the Indian economy is seen as one of several reasons why China agreed to pull back from the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh in areas where it massed troops in May, 2020.
“US and its Western allies will keep trying to draw India over to their side. Nevertheless, on many issues including the Russia-Ukraine conflict, India is sending a signal – if the US and the West continue to cast a cold eye to other countries’ national interests while asking them to take sides, they will end up in disappointment,” the article says in its conclusion.