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What Is India Doing in Ukraine?

The Ukraine war has exposed India’s strategic vulnerabilities as arguably nothing else could. Paradoxically, the conflict has also increased the country’s importance and, in the short term, widened its options – but the government has so far largely failed to capitalize.

NEW DELHI – Toward the end of March, an unusual sequence of diplomatic visitors passed through India’s capital. First came Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland. They were followed by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, Omani Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr Albusaidi, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The parade continued. Next to arrive were Gabriele Visentin, the European Union’s special envoy for the Indo-Pacific; Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s foreign minister; Jens Plötner, foreign and security policy adviser to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz; and Geoffrey van Leeuwen, foreign affairs and defense adviser to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Last and by no means least were US Deputy National Security Adviser Daleep Singh, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. There was also an online Indo-Australian summit.

The Ukraine war has exposed India’s strategic vulnerabilities in a tough neighborhood as arguably nothing else could, raising fundamental questions about the country’s global position and regional security. But, paradoxically – as the slew of recent high-profile visits confirms – the conflict has increased India’s strategic importance and, in the short term, widened its options.

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