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India Walks the Tightrope Between the U.S. and Russia

Jun 8, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) welcomes Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting in Sochi on May 21.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) welcomes Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting in Sochi on May 21. Washington would like New Delhi to scale back its Russian arms purchases, but it is unlikely to push India too much due to the latter's strategic importance against China.

(MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images)

As the world's great powers enter an era of renewed competition, India finds itself in a bind. Its relationships with China, Russia and the United States serve an array of occasionally conflicting strategic purposes in support of its ambitions as one of Asia's rising powers. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in China's Qingdao, which will run June 9 and 10, could offer India a chance to exhibit the strength of its bonds with Moscow at a time when Washington is brandishing the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) to force New Delhi to scale back its reliance on Russian arms. India, however, resents such exhortations -- especially when it has already started shifting away from Russian arms purchases. As a result, India's unwillingness or inability to bend on its arms commitment to Russia could complicate its nascent defense cooperation with the United States in the short term. But wary...

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