Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of Russia’s Security Council, met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month, according to a report by The Diplomat.
The meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was held in New Delhi on March 29, according to the paper.
The details of their discussion are not publicly known, but the meeting was significant as it is difficult to secure a meeting with Modi.
Is a new Russia-China-India bloc on the rise?
Russia’s economy has heavily relied on trade with India and China since the beginning of the Ukraine war. Meanwhile, extensive sanctions from the West made it necessary for Russia to develop a parallel economy to continue these relationships. According to the report, this led to an 80-fold increase in Russia’s trade with China in the yuan currency.
Putin has recently discussed a long-term plan to rely on the yuan as its primary currency. “We are in favor of using the Chinese yuan for settlements between Russia and the countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America,” he said.
Including India in the plan is crucial as well. India’s imports from Russia have increased significantly by 400 percent due to the accelerated oil purchases since the invasion, making Russia India’s fourth-largest trade partner.
Rosneft’s chairman accompanied Patrushev on his trip and signed a deal with the Indian Oil Corporation to increase supplies, Reuters reported. This explains why the partnership between the two countries is still surging.
Russia faces obstacles in efforts to build a closer alliance with India and China
In another meeting held in New Delhi, the Deputy Chairman of Russia’s lower house of parliament proposed a common digital currency with India, China, and Russia leading the effort. The latest foreign policy concept note from Russia also mentioned India and China as close allies.
However, India still holds suspicion towards China due to border clashes, and it is unlikely for India to partner with China to build an economy independent of the dollar.
India has taken measures to distance itself from China, including cracking down on Chinese apps and launching tax evasion probes against Chinese businesses. This trend of economic decoupling is partly due to Modi’s efforts to boost domestic manufacturing.