When the British left #India in 1947 the world was divided between Soviet Russia and the USA as the major world powers. The Americans offered India the chance to be the ally of the USA against the Soviet Union, which Nehru spurned. The Americans settled for Pakistan which became a frontline state against communism. Nehru followed a path of neutrality with a heavy Soviet bias and Russia became India's main weapon supplier. In addition, the Soviets backed India in the security council and repeatedly used the veto to help thwart UN resolutions on Kashmir which both India and Pakistan claim. This state of affairs continued for 50 years and in that period India after a war in 1971 broke Pakistan into two and created the state of Bangladesh, despite the American tilt towards Pakistan.

Changing scenario

The situation changed at the turn of the 21st century when the Soviet Union collapsed and the new Russia began to befriend China, which has a border dispute with India. The Americans had also realized that Pakistan was a dubious ally as it supported extremist organizations which fought the US army in Afghanistan and a realignment was in the cards. The Americans and Indians moved into a strategic alliance as the US decided its best bet against China was India. Embargoes on weapons were sunk and India began a partnership with the USA. With Modi at the helm of affairs in India the ardor for Russia cooled.

The Russians lost a lucrative arms market as India after 5 decades opted for western aircraft in preference to Russian warplanes. The Russians began to court a willing Pakistan. The past when Pakistan was a frontline state against communism was forgotten as Russia sold the MI-35 attack helicopters to Pakistan. This was not liked by India.

Russia and Pakistan

The Russian armed forces and the Pakistan army are now slated to hold their first ever joint #military exercise. This is an example of the changing power equation in South Asia. The Pakistani's denied the F-16 by the USA are also mulling buying the Russian Su-34, advanced 4th generation fighter. With China close to Pakistan and now the Russians cultivating Pakistan as well the entire political and strategic enviornment has undergone a sea change. One wonders whether Modi was right in putting most of his eggs in the US basket, as for long Russia was an all weather ally and had also stood by India in the 1971 war when Indira Gandhi entered into a military alliance in 1970 for 20 years.