Experts said that India’s decision not to vote on a U.N. Security Council resolution requesting that Russia cease its invading of Ukraine is not a sign of support for Moscow but rather a reflection on New Delhi’s dependence on its Cold War ally for its energy, weapons, and support in conflicts between neighbors.

India regretted Friday’s decision by countries to abandon the path of diplomacy, but opted not to vote with the United States for the resolution that would have affected its seven-decade-old ties with Russia. Russia vetoed resolution, while China and United Arab Emirates also abstained.

“We have not supported Russia’s actions. We have abstained. It is the right thing to take under the circumstances,” stated G. Parthasarthy (retired Indian diplomat).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Thursday, called for an “immediate cessation violence.” Modi also said that the “differences” between Russia and NATO can only be resolved by honest and sincere dialog.

India relied in the past on Soviet support and its veto power at the Security Council to resolve its Kashmir dispute with long-standing rival Pakistan.

While the Himalayan territory has been divided between India, Pakistan and China, both countries claim it in its entirety. India accuses Pakistan for supporting the rebels in Kashmir. This conflict has claimed tens and thousands of lives, and forced nuclear-armed rivals into two wars.

India watched intently as Pakistani Prime Minster Imran Khan arrived in Moscow at the same time Russia invaded Ukraine. Khan met Putin for almost three hours during the crisis.

New Delhi faced additional challenges in Kashmir due to the war in Ukraine. It also had to face difficulties along its mountain frontier with China. China and Pakistan are both seen as being on the Russian side. India believes Moscow has the leverage to change Beijing’s hardline on the border issue.

The confrontation at the disputed China-India border in June 2020 dramatically changed their already fraught relationship. Rival troops engaged in a battle with rocks, clubs, and fists. Four Chinese soldiers and at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed. Despite talks, tensions have continued to fester despite the ceaseless negotiations.

Many organizations protested in the Indian capital on Saturday to demand an end to Russian aggression. They also pressed the Indian government for the evacuation of thousands of Indians, mostly students who were left behind.

Pratap Sen, a student aged 20, said that while India’s decision not to vote in the Security Council election was not ideal, it was better given the circumstances.

“International politics is wild and wild west. He said that India must balance the U.S., western world and Russia. Russia has been a close ally to India for many decades.

C. Raja Mohan is a senior fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute. He said that India’s dependence on Russian weapons was the root of the problem.

This isn’t a simple question. The fact is that India is currently in a war with China. He said that India is in an eyeball to eyeball conflict with China over a disputed border.

India and Russia have set a goal of $30 billion bilateral trade by 2025. India is dependent on Russian oil, and gas.

In 2021, it imported 1.8 Million Tonnes of Russian thermal coal. It also accounts for 0.2% of Russia’s natural gas exports. According to Indian media reports, the state-run Gas Authority of India Limited has signed a 20-year agreement with Russia’s Gazprom to purchase 2.5 million tonnes of liquefied gas per year. This deal began in 2018.

Last year, Modi and Putin met to discuss defense and commercial relations and they signed an agreement to expand their military technology cooperation over the next ten years.

India’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile system, which it regards as crucial in countering China’s rise, could also be a problem in Indo-U.S. relations. India’s S-400, a highly sophisticated surface-to-air defense and security system, is expected to provide strategic deterrence against Pakistan and China.

Washington and its allies have sought Washington’s support in facing China. This is a common ground for “the Quad,” an Indo-Pacific security alliance that includes Australia and Japan.

India has also been diversifying its weapon purchases with U.S.-made equipment. The U.S. and India signed defense agreements worth more than $3 billion during the Donald Trump presidency. Bilateral defense trade grew from almost zero in 2008, to $15 billion by 2019.

The real problem for India as the Ukraine crisis worsens is how it handles international sanctions against Russia.

After Washington requested that its partners refrain from buying Russian military equipment, the missile system deal with Moscow places India at risk.

“The problem facing India has only begun. It is urgent that it gets rid of its dependence on Russian weapons,” Raja Mohan stated.

Political scientist Noor Ahmed Baba said that India will not be happy with the West, but they can’t afford to completely alienate New Delhi.

He said, “After all countries balance principles with real politicalticking and diplomacy.” It’s not just India’s benefit to be with the West; they also need India.”