Though India and Pakistan have fought several wars against each other, their stances on the Ukraine war are similar — reflecting an unwillingness to risk antagonizing Russia. India has had a close relationship with Moscow since the mid-1950s. Though it is now much less reliant on Russian weaponry and has extensive economic and security ties with the U.S, Russia remains its biggest military supplier, accounting for nearly half of Indian defense imports. Russia has also started cultivating Pakistan. In sharp contrast to its India-centered policy during the Cold War, Moscow has supplied Pakistan a limited quantity of arms and, since 2016, has also held joint exercises with the Pakistani military. Little wonder that Khan refused to be goaded into taking sides on the Ukraine war — and that his successor, Shehbaz Sharif, hasn’t changed course.
Then there’s Brazil, whose $1.4 trillion economy — Latin America’s largest — is deeply dependent on agricultural sales, which Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has made a priority to promote. Soybeans, Brazil’s top agricultural export, bring in nearly $29 billion. Cultivating that crop requires fertilizer, and Brazil imports 85 percent of what it needs, and Russia accounts for 23 percent of those imports. Would Russia end its fertilizer sales if Brazil started supporting Western sanctions against Moscow? Bolsonaro doesn’t want to find out. Brazil did vote for a March 2 U.N. General Assembly resolution condemning Russia but its ambassador’s explanation of the vote pointedly criticized “the indiscriminate application of sanctions” and the denunciation of Russia’s resort to war.
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