India’s ‘disassociation from Russia’ on Ukraine war

Lavrov sat through the summit’s opening ceremony on Tuesday, listening to world leaders condemn Russia’s brutal invasion. Widodo, President of Indonesia and G20 host, told world leaders, “We must end the war.” “It will be difficult for the world to move forward if the war does not end,” he said.

Meanwhile, in his opening remarks, Xi made no mention of Ukraine. Instead, the Chinese leader criticized the US – without naming it – for “drawing ideological lines” and “promoting group politics and bloc confrontation.” In comparison to China’s ambiguous stance, observers have noticed a more noticeable shift from India – and the greater role New Delhi is willing to play in engaging all parties.

In his opening remarks at the summit on Tuesday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged leaders to “find a way to return to the path of ceasefire and diplomacy in Ukraine.” The draft joint declaration also includes the following sentence: “Today’s era must not be one of war.” The tone is similar to what Modi said to Putin in September on the sidelines of a regional summit in Uzbekistan.

“If the Indian language was used in the text, it means that Western leaders are paying attention to India as a major stakeholder in the region, because India is close to both the West and Russia,” said Happymon Jacob, associate professor of diplomacy and disarmament at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. “And we see India distancing itself from Russia in a variety of ways.”