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How South Asia views the War

Context

Russia-Ukraine Conflict has brought the South Asian Nations to a Geopolitical crossroads where countries have taken a stand based on their economy, relations with both sides and understanding.

Relevance

GS-II: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

GS-II: Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.

Dimensions of the Article

  • India : Neutrality
  • Sri Lanka: Recovery Affected
  • Pakistan: Pro Russian
  • Nepal: Against Russia
  • Maldives: Against Russia
  • Bangladesh: Remembering 1971
  • Afghanistan: Against Russia
  • Bhutan: Russia

India: Neutrality

  • India has abstained from voting in all UN Resolutions against Russia.
  • Russia has long been India’s defense partner and supplier of arms.
  • Though India has also sent aid and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.
  • India has followed the policy of Non-Alignment and has largely remained neutral to the conflict and has urged de-escalation. Though its neutrality is being viewed as support to Russia.
  • However, sanctions imposed on Russia can cause issues with its defense deals with Russia and Oil Shock can lead to an increase it its import bill.

Sri Lanka: Recovery Affected

  • Sri Lanka was expecting to recover from the economic meltdown with economy opening up post CoVID.
  • However, the conflict has led put a stop to this recovery.
  • Lack of Foreign Exchange is affecting its economy.
  • Russia being a major buyer of Sri Lankan Tea puts pressure on Sri Lanka.
  • It too has abstained from voting in UN Assemblies.

Pakistan: Pro Russian

  • Pakistan sees an opportunity by forming an axis with Russia and China which would have influence over the Eurasian region after withdrawal of US from Afghanistan.
  • It has abstained from voting against Russia and Imran Khan’s visit to Russia is being seen as a step in this endeavor.
  • It also refused to heed to the call of EU ambassadors who asked Pakistan to join the alliance against Russia citing Kashmir Issue.

Nepal: Against Russia

  • Nepal voted against Russia at the UN General Assembly taking a stand against Russia.
  • However, the backdrop of this exposes the geopolitical difficulties that it had been facing.
  • US is about to give $500 Million grant to Nepal which is being seen as Nepal going against China.
  • China too does not see this as grant but an act of coercive diplomacy.

Maldives: Against Russia

  • Maldives has shed the pro-China tilt of the previous regime and has voted against Russia.
  • It has signed a defense agreement with USA last year and has condemned the conflict which could grow into a wider regional aggression.

Bangladesh: Remembering 1971

  • Bangladesh to has abstained from voting against Russia while batting for peace and tranquility across the world.
  • It is being seen in the backdrop of tensions that arose due to sanctioning of the Rapid battalion Group an elite force of Bangladesh by the USA.
  • Bangladesh also remembers the help Russia gave during the 1971 war which made its existence possible.

Afghanistan: Against Russia

  • Afghanistan has voted against Russia despite declaring itself neutral.
  • However, legitimacy of their government is still not recognized by many.
  • Afghans feel that Russia’s invasion has shifted the focus away from the humanitarian crisis that they are facing.

Bhutan: Against Russia

  • Bhutan voted against Russia where it has made clear that if Russia’s invasion were to be given legitimacy, every large nation could invade its neighbor on pretext of sovereignty.

Source – Indian Express

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