India in the Russia-Ukraine war
Since the war started on 24th of February 2022 between Russia and Ukraine, India’s concern has been primarily on the students studying in Ukraine. There were about 20,000 Indians in Ukraine and most of them pursuing their medical education. Around 4000 had moved out before the conflict.
Many of the news programmes in India showed the plight of the Indian students at the beginning of the conflict. Students have to leave their places in Ukraine and move to the land border to Hungary, Poland, Romania, Moldova and Slovakia to take their flights to India.
As the borders were surging with people from Ukraine leaving to neighbouring countries as refugees the flow full of Ukrainians and foreigners. Indian government embarked on a programme called ‘Operation Ganga’ and air-lifted them from different parts of Eastern European countries with the passenger flights and the air-force flight.
Almost all the students and those who wanted to return were rescued by the Indian side and brought to the country. India has brought back more than 15,920 as of 6th March 2022 in 76 flights under its evacuation mission.
Their continuation of education had become a big question mark as many of the students are not sure of their return to continue their studies to complete. Some of the Indian states to which they returned are contemplating their continuation in the medical colleges but there are no legal provisions to admit them as the medical education in India is based on the NEET (National Eligibility Entrance Test) for entry into the medical and dental colleges.
Why India needs Russia?
India and Russia relationship is a long standing one. Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation 1971 was signed for a period of 20 years, and this was renewed for another 20 years when it ended in 1991.
Leadership at the time of independence and later in India moved closer to Russia in order the end the worst forms of poverty in the country. India even included the term ‘socialist’ in the preamble of the Constitution of India in 1976.
In December 2021 India and Russia signed more than two dozen deals across a variety of sectors and signed 10-year Defense Cooperation Pact 2021 to 2031.
On three occasions since the beginning of the conflict India abstained from voting in the UN Security Council as well in the UN General Assembly.
India spoke to the leaders of both Russia and Ukraine and urged them to come to the negotiating table. Russia is the largest supplier of arms, and it constitutes 70 percent of India’s purchase.
The latest one India signed with Russia for its defence needs is the S-400 surface-to-air missile defense systems based on a deal the two countries signed in 2018. The S-400 missile system is seen as crucial for India’s defense needs. India is also buying 3 million barrels of crude oil that Russia had offered at a big discount on the prevailing international rates.
Bernard D’Sami, Chennai, India
India to make first unit of Russia-made S-400 missile defence system operational from April 2022| WION https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TP3ZlMw-btE
Why Is S-400 Air Defence System A Game-Changer? India Today, 15 November 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01Iz_cY1CzQ