According to a recent survey, Indians see the US as the second-largest military danger behind China and blame NATO and Washington more for Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine than they do Moscow.

According to a poll conducted by Morning Consult, a US-based global business intelligence organisation, 43% of the 1,000 respondents saw China as the biggest threat. China and India have a long-running border dispute, and since 2020, hostilities have resumed.

The survey found that 22% of respondents ranked the US ahead of Pakistan, India’s longtime archrival, as the second greatest security danger.
While the world’s two largest democracies would seem to make for ideal friends, especially given their shared suspicion of China, Indians have strategic reasons to be sceptical of the Western powerhouse, according to Sonnet Frisbie and Scott Moskowitz, who oversaw the study released on Tuesday.” They added, “As tensions between Washington and Beijing increase, the Indian public may be worried about getting caught in the middle of a US-China conflict that destabilizes regional security, putting India at risk.”

China and the United States are seen as the major challenges to India. Despite the South Asian country’s tighter relationship with the US, Australia, and Japan, or the Quad, a coalition of democracies intended to fight Beijing’s economic and military ambitions, the worries expressed in the study about the risks from Washington still exist.
Despite pressure from its Quad partners, India has maintained its neutral stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine, abstaining from voting in favour of UN sanctions while advocating for a diplomatic solution to solve the food and fertiliser shortage brought on by the crisis. Additionally, it has kept buying cheap Russian oil.

Indians are more likely than Russians to blame NATO or the US for the conflict in Ukraine.

According to the survey, 48% of respondents said Russia should continue to be India’s preferred supplier of military hardware, compared to 44% for the US, and 60% of respondents wanted the government to keep buying oil from the country. Additionally, 49% of voters want the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to keep conducting military drills with the nation.
According to Shumita Deveshwar, senior director of India research at TS Lombard, “historical links with Russia forged during the Cold War and India’s post-independence period go deeper than India’s relatively young relationship with the US,” more Indians blame the US and NATO for the war. Russia is also “rooted in the thinking of the people, and that takes considerably longer to change” as India’s primary source of cheap oil and weapons.

Moscow and New Delhi have a long-standing partnership that touches on security and defence issues. The second-largest importer of oil in Asia, India, has increased its purchases of Russian goods, helping the Kremlin maintain exports as it contends with Western sanctions. India is the largest global purchaser of Russian armaments.

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