Russia’s President Vladimir Putin hit yet another diplomatic setback at the hands of a supposed friend Friday, when India’s leader openly criticized his war on Ukraine as harking from another age.
“I know that today’s era is not the era for war,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Putin at a meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. “We’ve spoken to you many times on the phone before on this, that democracy, diplomacy and dialogue — these things help the world. In the coming days, we will get the chance to talk about how to move on to the road to peace, I will also get the chance to better understand your viewpoint.”
Modi’s disapproval came just a day after Putin publicly admitted that China’s President Xi Jinping harbored “questions” and “concerns” over the war.
In the meeting with Modi, Putin said: “I know your position on the conflict in Ukraine, the concerns that you constantly express. We will do everything to stop this as soon as possible.”
China and India are the chief beneficiaries of the U.S. and EU sanctions regime against Russian oil, which Beijing and New Delhi are increasingly buying up at a discount. But if Putin had hoped that these allies would give his war more military and political support, he looks likely to be disappointed. Neither China nor India wants to be caught up in Western countermeasures themselves.
While Beijing sees Moscow as the only reliable partner confronting the global leadership of the U.S., New Delhi upholds a policy of nonalignment dating back to the Cold War, and benefited from deals involving Russian energy and weapon supplies.
Both Xi and Modi stayed away from a dinner gathering of 11 leaders attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit — despite the fact that it’s a primarily Chinese project. Putin, Belarus’ Alexander Lukashenko and their fellow dictators from Central Asia went ahead without them.