India, autonomous power courted by the United States

The time for American lessons in foreign policy seems to be over. Receiving Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 21 and 22, US President Joe Biden intended to consolidate an essential partnership for his country by not criticizing his host head-on about the Hindu nationalist’s internal excesses. State visit, solemn dinner at the White House, numerous announcements in the industrial, climate and defense sectors: it is time to identify common interests. In Washington, a priority horizon dominates: the systemic rivalry with China.

“India will be a key strategic partner for the US in the coming decades.This was stated by National Security Council spokesman John Kirby. India’s growing commitment to playing a greater international role, particularly within the Quad in the Indo-Pacific, illustrates a new and growing desire to join the United States in protecting and fostering a community vision of a free international order and open based on law. »

If this Indian involvement in world affairs is real, it is not, for New Delhi, about ” stick ” In the USA. Narendra Modi has developed a multi-vector foreign policy: no restrictive alignments, but an intelligent balance of cross-relationships, with the alleged risk of contradiction. Faced with Chinese ambitions, India shares many concerns expressed in Washington. But she prefers to follow her own score. The Indian prime minister has been in close contact with Chinese President Xi Jinping since 2016 in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), designed to counterbalance Western influence. But, on the other hand, New Delhi is engaged in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), seen by Beijing as a hostile partnership, with the United States, Australia and Japan.

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New Delhi-based journalist Barkha Dutt wrote a column in Washington Poston June 20, in which he issued a notice: “Don’t be naive, fellow Americans. India will never be your ally. » According to her, it would be futile to expect a form of from this country “monogamy” diplomatic. “India reserves the right to flirt with Russia, Iran – and even China – if its national interests require it. »

The striking example of this form of strategic autonomy – which recalls that of President Erdogan’s Turkey – is the war in Ukraine. For sixteen months, India has not voted for any UN resolution condemning the Russian aggression. Narendra Modi simply calls for the fighting to stop, signaling this to Putin “the era is not war”. New Delhi did not register under the sanctions implemented by Europe and the United States. Conversely, India has multiplied its purchases of cheap crude oil by twenty-two. In May, it imported nearly 2 million barrels of oil a day from Russia. It refines, keeps a part for self-consumption and resells the surplus kerosene to Westerners.

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