Neither is Russia a reliable friend nor is US a fickle one. Nation-states have semi-permanent interests.

The Print’s daily roundtable TalkPoint posed a question connected to the Indian PM’s France visit: Modi-Macron embrace: Does India have permanent friends or is every alliance strategic?

My response:

There are no friends, let alone permanent friends when it comes to international relations. Anthropomorphism in international conduct can lead us to incorrect assumptions and solutions. So, Russia is neither a reliable friend of India nor is the United States a fickle one. However, what can be said is that nation-states do have semi-permanent interests.

It is in India’s interest to have a better relationship with France for two reasons. First, it ensures that the European Union’s policy towards India remains favourable. It is far more advantageous to deal with individual European states than with the European Union. Second, strategic engagement with France — inclusive of defence purchases — is a way to secure its support for Indian positions at the United Nations Security Council.

Going ahead, diversification of the trade relationship with a key defence supplier like France is critical for India. A diverse partnership provides levers to hedge against changing geopolitical equations. Maritime co-operation, the International Solar Alliance, and nuclear energy trade illustrate this overlap of French and Indian interests.

Read the entire discussion here.