Why do so many Indians support Vladimir Putin?

IR  : Why-do-so-many-Indians-support-Vladimir-Putin -1

Answer by Rahul Dengra:

I will start with the response of India to the Crimean crisis –

National Security Advisor speaking informally to the press said,

“We hope that whatever internal issues there are within Ukraine are settled peacefully and that the broader issues of reconciling the various interests involved, and there are after all legitimate Russian and other interests involved, are discussed and negotiated.”

And this was Putin's response

“Speaking of India’s stance, we are, of course, grateful to the Indian government and to the Indian people for their level-headed stance. I am glad that the Indian government considered the historical and the current political aspects in approaching this issue. I am glad that they based their opinion on these fundamental principles, including the importance of Russia-India relations. We appreciate it.”

The above two statements show how the government feels about Russia and the same can be said about most Indians. For some people reasons to support are historical while for others they can be current and future national interests.

1) Historical Reasons  –

A) Indian Annexation of Goa – When India launched its attack on Goa, the whole of west was furious. A resolution was brought in UN for ceasefire which was rejected by Russia. It saved India from a very awkward position where, India either had to continue its attack against UN mandate or withdraw its forces (Between rock and hard place)

I will borrow an excerpt from Wikipedia to reflect the importance of Russia –

The New York Times of 19 December 1961 reporting the Western response to the invasion of Goa stated: "Adlai E. Stevenson warned the Security Council early today that the United Nations was in danger of dying as the result of a Soviet veto killing a Western resolution to tend the Indian invasion of Goa. The resolution would have urged India to accept an immediate cease-fire and recall her invasion troops from Goa and two other Portuguese enclaves on the Indian coast. Moscow, however, hailed the invasion as a liberation drive and accused the United States of hypocrisy in its criticism of India's military moves. Observers believed the Russians were trying to fan resentment against NATO, to which both Portugal and the United States belong"

Later Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev urged Indians to ignore Western indignation as it came

“from those who are accustomed to strangle the people’s striving for independence… and from those who enrich themselves from colonialist plunder”.

B) Indo-Pak War 1971 –  If anyone wants the complete details of role of other countries involved in this war please check out the link
1971 India Pakistan War: Role of Russia, China, America and Britain

To summarize the article –
US president Richard Nixon requested China to intervene from north India. Pakistan was already in west and Nixon decided to send the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise into the Bay of Bengal to threaten India. The plan was to surround India from all sides and force them to retreat and leave East Pakistan.
China feared any action on India might attract Soviet aggression. At this, US assured China that any action taken by Soviet Union will be countered by US to protect China.
Now Russia joins the action – India signs a treaty of peace with Russia. Russia sends its fleet which reaches before English and US navy to protect India from US arm twisting.

A few lines from the above articles –

“The Chief Commander had ordered me to lift the submarines and bring them to the surface so that it can be pictured by the American spy satellites or can be seen by the American Navy!’ It was done to demonstrate, that we had all the needed things in Indian Ocean, including the nuclear submarines. I had lifted them, and they recognized it. Then, we intercepted the American communication. The commander of the Carrier Battle Group was then the counter-admiral Dimon Gordon. He sent the report to the 7th American Fleet Commander: ‘Sir, we are too late. There are Russian nuclear submarines here, and a big collection of battleships’.Americans returned and couldn't do anything.”

Soviet Union had also threatened China that, if they ever opened a front against India on its border, they will receive a tough response from North.

2) National Interests – 
A) Military relationship – India imports 75% arms from Russia and just 7% from US . Most of the Indians consider national security a very important issue and thus support comes naturally.

B) UN council – Russia has been the sole supporter of Indian interests among the 5 permanent members while others are either against or neutral depending on circumstances.

There are many more reasons for Indian government to be pro Russian, like emerging economic tie-ups and need of nuclear fuel. Still in my opinion the above reasons mainly affect the way we Indians perceive Russia.

References –
Russia And The Ukraine Crisis: An Indian Perspective
India–Russia relations
1971 India Pakistan War: Role of Russia, China, America and Britain
1961 Indian annexation of Goa
I-Day: Russia’s role in the Indian freedom movement | Russia & India Report

Edit 1 – thanks Vamshi Palreddy for pointing out the grammatical errors. Now the answer looks much better 🙂

Why do so many Indians support Vladimir Putin?


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