Who said that fence sitting is an easy task in diplomacy. It never is and India is finding out the hard way in the current Ukrainian crisis. For the record Russia does not seem to have to have a problem with the posturing of India; and the Biden administration appears to give the impression that it indeed understands where New Delhi is coming from. Or at least this is what can be made out of the State Department and White House briefings. But deep down both Moscow and Washington, especially the latter, wish that the Modi government would indeed get off the fence as it has been quite frustrating to the United States on the abstentions of India at the United Nations.
Wars are indeed messy and it hardly matters if the Russian President Vladimir Putin is going to label his invasion of Ukraine as a “Special Operation” — it is war that has claimed scores of lives including that of an Indian student whose only mistake was to have stepped outside his living quarters to buy snacks. To the millions of the Indian diaspora living in the world it brings levels of anxiety up on the safety of 25,000-odd of its brethren, a small fraction of them having been safely repatriated thanks to courtesies extended by countries bordering Ukraine. And there are social media posts that are hard to verify of Indian students being given rough treatment at the borders by Ukrainian guards.