Indians see China as No 1 military threat followed by US, survey finds
- The poll found 43 per cent of Indian respondents perceived China as the greatest threat, with the US next ahead of arch-rival Pakistan
- It also found that most Indians place greater blame on Nato and Washington than on Vladimir Putin for his war in Ukraine
“While the world’s two largest democracies would seem to make for natural partners, especially given their mutual mistrust of China, Indians have strategic reasons to be wary of the world’s Western superpower,” according to Sonnet Frisbie and Scott Moskowitz, who oversaw the survey released late on Tuesday.
“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 destabilises regional security, putting India at risk.”
More Indians blame the US and Nato for the war because “historical ties with Russia formed during the Cold War and India’s post-independence period run deeper than India’s relatively new relationship with the US,” said Shumita Deveshwar, India research senior director at TS Lombard.
Russia as the main supplier of weapons and cheap oil to India is also “embedded in the mindset of the people, and that takes much longer to change”.
New Delhi and Moscow have a long-standing relationship that spans sectors such as defence and security. India is the world’s largest buyer of Russian weapons, and a surge in oil purchases by Asia’s second-biggest importer has helped the Kremlin to maintain exports as it tackles Western sanctions.