It is Vladimir Putin’s war and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi cannot do zilch to make it come to an end though for some unfathomable reason the Ukrainian ambassador in New Delhi believes Modi can sway Putin from his decades-long resolve to reassemble the dismantled USSR and leave Ukraine alone. The kind of man he is, Vladimir Putin must have been planning this escapade for quite some time.
There are those who believe Putin wants the old glory of Russia returned, and Ukraine is a good place to start reassembling the USSR. The West’s encirclement of Russia was an insult to Putin and Russia, and this is his way of telling “Russia’s enemies” that two can play the game— “I’m taking back what’s rightly that of Russia, always was.”
And, if the West thinks sanctions like the ones POTUS Joe Biden has unloaded on Moscow will hobble Russia, forget it. Russia started this game knowing what all could be placed in its way, from hostile battlements to sanctions galore. It’s Joe Biden and the US allies who are hobbled. Their righteous outrage stands no chance against Putin’s my way or the highway determination. Let’s be sure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not the only world leader who cannot do zilch to what’s unfolding in Ukraine.
Fact is Modi put a call through to Putin and told the Russian one-in-all of what he thought of the war, but what was Putin’s reply to friend Modi’s reasoning to walk back the war, which is now into its second day? Obviously, we did not get an answer to that question from the Indian establishment. However, we can safely conclude Modi’s overtures fell on Putin’s deaf ears.
The problem for Modi is, he is hobbled by his proclivity to hug every global leader, especially those of them who allowed him to take a bear grip of their shoulders, proclaiming eternal friendship. Modi should have known that oftentimes familiarity breeds contempt and diplomacy requires a degree of reserve and gravitas. Modi should have held Putin at arm’s length to be counted among the serious world statesmen.
Come to think, Modi’s hugs are solely for the heads of state of various countries. How many times do we see Modi give one of his trademark hugs to an Indian cohort, anybody of note? Why, all and sundry, even those in hijab, saw how Modi froze when Congress leader Rahul Gandhi walked across the divide to give Modi a hug, with a bonus wink?
So, let’s cut straight to the point: Modi is too pally with Putin to go against anything that Putin does; especially not when it comes to waging or not waging war. Tomorrow, Putin may have a request for Modi to adhere to, say on Kashmir, what will Modi expect from Putin?
Point is, Modi, because he is too friendly, overly and openly friendly, with Putin, he is not well-placed to press Putin to stop the assault on Ukraine or else? Unlike the US, England, Germany and France, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and by extension India, is not in a position to go to the rescue of the beleaguered Ukraine, angering Russia, especially not when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is acting like he’s Putin’s twin!
Why, Modi could not even petition Putin to “rescue” the 20,000 Indian students trapped in Kyiv and other places in Ukraine. All that India can do is request Ukraine’s neighbouring countries, other than Russia, to allow passage to Indian students into their countries. Even if one of these students ends up as a casualty of this war, Modi would be up to his bandh-gala in trouble.
Fact is, Putin is impervious to appeals from friend or foe. China understood this. Even “lowly Pakistan.” Imran Khan has chosen the side Pakistan should be, i.e., the side which China favours. India, on the other hand, is as if it has no stakes, this way or that way. And Modi being the friendly bear cannot insist, this way or that way!
Also, there is no urge or necessity in the so-called “allies.” Nato has not been hurt unless it’s by loss of face. POTUS Joe Biden cannot muster enough outrage. The USA is unsure of what will be the shape of things in a new reassembled world. Putin doesn’t care if there’s World War III. And he is testing the super weapon ‘Iskander’. The situation in today’s Europe is unfamiliar to that which prevailed on the eve of World War II.
Modi spoke with Putin and appealed for “immediate cessation of violence.” Modi did not press for “status quo ante” or some such garble. As far as India and Modi are concerned, Russia reassembling the Soviet Union is Putin’s affair. And if Ukraine’s ambassador to India thinks Modi is in a position to issue a mandamus writ to Putin, well he is entitled to his thoughts!! (IPA Service)
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