As Washington was raising the alarm about convoys of Russian military forces heading toward the Ukrainian border in early December, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin were posing for cameras at a grand New Delhi palace.
During the 21st India-Russia Annual Summit, both leaders reaffirmed their "special and privileged strategic partnership," signing a military and technical co-operation pact to boost trade to $30 billion US per year, including a $5.4 billion US missile defence system for India.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine two weeks ago — shelling several major cities, hampering efforts to evacuate and causing the deaths of at least 400 civilians so far — India has abstained on every United Nations vote condemning Russia's actions. These include votes at the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly, the UN Human Rights Council and at the International Atomic Energy Agency.
India's stance invoked the opprobrium of the overwhelming majority of its NATO allies, including the U.S., with whom it has been forging a deeper strategic alliance in recent years, bolstered by their common concern over increased Chinese incursion into the Indo-Pacific region.
"India is in a very tough spot," said
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