This post is by ontheflyingbridge from On the Flying Bridge
What an enormously complicated time to have been in India, and to have been there alongside the recent G20 Summit made for an even more precarious environment. With a general election a year away, Prime Minister Modi assumed the role of global statesman with gigantic posters festooned throughout Delhi. Notwithstanding that the twenty foreign ministers were unable to agree on a joint Ukrainian statement, Secretary of State Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov met in Delhi for the first time since the start of the war.
India must walk a fraught tightrope as the country appears to be pivoting more towards the West, as China becomes a greater adversary. Surprisingly, a series of editorials earlier this month in the Hindustan Times expressed deep sympathy toward Russia (citing NATO encroachment, etc.), hoping to ensure important economic ties, while also extolling Modi to “lead in Ukrainian talks.” Since the start of the war in February 2022, India’s purchase of Russian crude oil has increased a staggering 33-fold, and at a 30% discount to global oil benchmarks. India imports nearly 90% of its oil but has created a vast oil refinery industry, ironically now likely to serve as a potential refinery to European oil needs.
While unemployment spiked last month to 7.5%, up from 7.1% in January, the International Monetary Fund estimates that the Indian economy will grow by 6.1% in 2023 and 6.8% in 2024. According to the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy, the workforce is estimated to be 410 million (Read more...)