The Modi-Putin Sochi Meet Reinforces India’s Striving for Multi-Polarity
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s one-day visit to Sochi on May 21, for an extended informal interaction with Russian President Vladimir Putin, soon after Putin’s inauguration for a fourth term on May 7, was seen as an effort to keep India- Russia ties on an even keel amidst global reordering and rebalancing.
The India-Russia relationship has needed periodic tending, especially since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Post-Soviet Russia had initially focused on building economic and political convergence with the United States and Western Europe, perceived as victors in the Cold War competition of economic and political systems. Relations with India received lower priority, with impact on critical areas such as defence and space cooperation, also on account of disruption in production and research. Russia’s support to a Pakistan-sponsored resolution at UN on a South Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone, and visit of its Vice-President Rutskoi to Pakistan in 1992, further fuelled anxieties.