WHEN THE leaders of the world’s two biggest democracies held a virtual meeting on April 11th, Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister (no. 1) approvingly quoted President Joe Biden (no. 2) back to himself: “Democracies can deliver,” Mr Modi declared. But when it came to the war in Ukraine, just what it was that democracies should be delivering went unspecified. Both men worried about the plight of Ukrainian civilians. Although Mr Biden left no doubt whom he blamed for their suffering, Mr Modi sounded less certain. Rather than point a finger at Russia, he called for “an independent inquiry” into the horrors reported from the Ukrainian town of Bucha.
India is perhaps the most inconvenient of the serial abstainers from the West’s campaign to punish Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, for invading Ukraine. But it is far from alone. In Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, even longtime allies and clients of America are rebuffing its entreaties to impose sanctions on Russia or merely to criticise it.
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