We all have friends and foes. The same way, a country does too. India has many friends, but there are a few friends who have been with it through thick and thin, and I guess we all know who it is.
It started back in 1947 when India and Pakistan got partitioned. While Pakistan got support from countries like China and the USA, India stood alone in Southeast Asia. Russia (then USSR) noticed this and took a step forward to be a friend to India. It’s been 73 years, and there’s not even a single incident where Russia did not support India.
It all started in 1951 when India was going through a grain crisis. India, seeking help from the USA and Russia, Russia sent Fifty Thousand quintals of food grains immediately while the Americans were still discussing in the parliament as to what to do.
Not to forget that the Irish resolution, which urged India and Pakistan to enter direct negotiations for settlement of their dispute over Kashmir, was supported by 7 Security Council members. These included the other four permanent members – the US, France, UK, and China (at that time the Republic of China, not the People’s Republic of China) – plus three non-permanent members, Ireland, Chile, and Venezuela. To which Russian delegate Platon Dmitrievich Morozov voiced a loud “nyet” (no) after the Indian delegation declared the Irish resolution unacceptable. Romania, a Russian ally, opposed while Ghana and Egypt abstained.
Russia’s 100th veto in the United Nations Security Council was in support of India’s position on Kashmir. The Veto of June 22, 1962 “smashed an Irish resolution” and dealt a body blow to the West’s aim to prise the disputed territory from India’s control and hand it to Pakistan. What infuriated the western bloc was that the 99th Russian Veto, in December 1961, had also been in India’s favour. That veto was on a resolution calling for a ceasefire when “India blitzed Portuguese-held Goa”. The mood in the western bloc was, therefore, vehemently anti-India. Russia was portrayed as a roadblock to the United Nation’s functioning in the Western media. And since then, Russia has been vetoing in favour of India time and again.
In 1971, when there was an Indo-Pakistan war, countries like the USA, Britain, UAE, France, China, and others were openly siding with Pakistan. When the US sent its Naval Ships led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier enterprise into the Bay Of Bengal, USSR responded from India’s end.
Not only that but India’s first satellite, Aryabhatta was launched from within the Soviet Union by a Russian-made rocket on April 19, 1975. And in 1984, Rakesh Sharma became the first Indian citizen to enter space. He flew aboard the Soviet rocket Soyuz T-11 launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic on April 3, 1984. Since we did not have the means to do it all by ourselves back then, Russia has always had our back.
India and Russia have even signed a Free Trade Agreement, and they plan to meet the bilateral trade target of $30 billion by 2025. Other than that, the two countries have particularly cited the potential to boost trade in agriculture. They look to grow Russian businesses’ participation in the ‘Make in India’ program, which encourages businesses to manufacture products in the country, and Indian companies’ investments in projects in Russia.
Defence cooperation is a principal pillar of the India-Russia strategic partnership. Guided by the Programme for Military-Technical Cooperation signed between the two countries, it is valid at present till 2020. The two sides also have periodic exchanges of armed forces personnel and military exercises.
The Russians have for long feared that large numbers of Chinese would move in and take control of their sparsely populated territories, across their north-eastern borders. This being the main reason for Russia welcoming Indian and other foreign investments and personnel for projects in the Far East. Even today, Moscow hedges its bets and keeps its channels of communication and cooperation open, with both India and Vietnam.
The US also today seeks maritime and economic cooperation with both India and Vietnam, to counter Chinese power and territorial ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region. In a world where the US and Russia will be the major players in the global energy sector, Indian diplomacy will, in coming years, remain focussed on the emerging power equations between the two.
Hence, to conclude, Russia and India in real sense are “true friends”, and both the countries and the country leaders have maintained good relations with each other. One can never go wrong if it has a friend like Russia that guides it, helps it and always has its back no matter what happens.
Ever wondered why did India develop a strong military partnership with a country it had ignored for 42 years?
The Indian military had always admired the experience and expertise of the Israeli army in its different successful military campaigns and already lobbied for more cooperation with its Israeli counterpart. The two countries did not have diplomatic relations and the Indian Military had little say in the making of India’s foreign policy. However, there was an urgent need to diversify India’s military procurements given India’s dependence on Soviet equipment, the increasing obsolescence of Soviet acquisitions, and the failure of the indigenous Military industry to deliver the equipment expected by India’s armed forces. As a consequence, the Narasimha Rao government openly acknowledged that it had considered the defence procurement factor when justifying the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel in January 1992.
After the nuclear tests of May 1998, India was also sanctioned by a military embargo. Unlike the United States and most Western countries, Israel did not condemn the test and resumed its defence exports to India. That increased Israel’s credibility as a reliable arms supplier. Israel also helped India in 1971 Indo- Pak and Kargil conflict.
Importantly, RAW (the Indian Intelligence Agency) and Mossad (the Israeli Intelligence Agency) have history. when RAW came up in 1968 as a wing of the Intelligence Bureau following the failures in gathering advance information during the 1962 India-China war and the 1965 war with Pakistan. The then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi created RAW out of the IB under Rameshwar Nath Kao in 1968.
- RAW was created after intelligence failures during the 1962 and 1965 wars.
- First RAW chief RN Kao scripted RAW-Mossad collaboration.
- RAW, Mossad joined hands to check Pakistan’s covert activities from North Korea to Iran and Libya with Chinese help.
- RAW was a secret wing till 1977 when the then PM Desai accidentally blew it over.
- India and Israel have signed pacts for security cooperation and counter-terror intelligence sharing.
Over the past 15 years, Israeli defence industries have demonstrated their willingness to transfer technology and to engage with the Indian defence industry in joint ventures, production and Research and Development in high-technology military equipment. These opportunities were framed in a way to develop India’s indigenous defence production, especially under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative. Besides, the broad differences between Indian and Israeli worldviews, notably on Iran, and the absence of common enemies limit the immediate need for a strategic rapprochement.
Interestingly, PM Narendra Modi is the first Prime minister to visit Israel. Israel has proved to be a mysterious “close friend” of India and one of the most trusted friends and the relations between the two are only getting sturdier with coming days.
Japan and India signed a peace treaty and established diplomatic relations on April 28, 1952. This treaty was one of the first peace treaties Japan signed after World War II. Ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two countries have enjoyed cordial relations.
History also says that Subhash Chandra Bose with the help of the Japanese army made an “untold army” to bounce back at the Britishers. That was one good army!
In November 2016, Prime Minister Modi paid an official visit to Japan and had a summit meeting with Prime Minister Abe. Prime Minister Abe stated that this summit meeting was a magnificent meeting that substantially advanced the “new era in Japan-India relations” and he hoped the two countries would lead the prosperity and stability of the Indo-Pacific region as a result of coordinating the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific and the “Act East” policy. In the Japan-India Vision Statement issued during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Japan in October 2018, two leaders reiterated their unwavering commitment to working together towards a free and open Indo-Pacific.
On September 9, 2020, India and Japan signed an “Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement” that would allow the militaries of the two countries to exchange supplies and services on a reciprocal basis during exercises in which both participate, U.N. and humanitarian assistance operations, as well as visits to each other’s ports. Japan becomes the sixth country with which India has such an arrangement, adding to the United States, France, Singapore, South Korea, and Australia.
Japan has been our “good friend” for a long time and will continue to maintain the same relations in future too.
The inspiration from each of these countries to become a “Better India” is tremendous. If I were to be asked who the real ally of India is, it would most definitely be Russia. Israel is its close friend and Japan a good friend. Meanwhile, Bhutan and Nepal are the two beautiful sisters who we’re blessed to have. South Korea is a friend with who we’re working on our relationship with. And Pakistan and China are those two annoying neighbours who can never see us happier than them because their own problems are never-ending.