Russia-India Relations and the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Test of Global Governance


Even as the world continues to grapple with the wide-ranging impact of COVID-19 โ€” seeking to understand the domestic and international repercussions of the pandemic โ€” the ripple effects of heightened uncertainty surrounding the future of the international system can already be felt across state boundaries and global institutions. Needless to say, the world order was already in flux even before the pandemic hit, characterised by a decline of the liberal world order and the rise of China. But the pandemic has brought into sharp relief the limitations of global governance institutions, the ordering of the international system, the future of globalisation, and contestation about the future norms of conduct.

From geopolitics to geo-economics, the consequences of COVID-19 are expected to be far-reaching and all-encompassing. The prospects of a deepening rivalry between the US and China, the feeble response from international organisations to a crisis of global proportions and the enormity of the task of rebuilding the world economy has inevitably led to questions regarding the future of the world order. In the immediate period, the focus is on containing the virus and protecting the population. But this involves a broader debate on public health, technology, pharmaceuticals, knowledge sharing and research.

It is within this context that this discussion will take place, seeking to analyse the impact of the changes underway in the global system on key issues of the world order, multilateral institutions, and bilateral engagements. Both India and Russia will have to grapple with these questions as they navigate this unpredictable environment โ€” both at the bilateral and multilateral levels.

What will be the role of the two strategic partners in this new world order? What does the future of international institutions look like and what does it mean for multilateral organisations like BRICS, of which both India and Russia are important members? What are the major challenges faced by global institutions in tackling the pandemic? Can India and Russia lead BRICS towards enhanced collaboration in areas like public health, setting the stage for further cooperation on other challenges including climate change? What will be the impact of the changing world order on the functioning of multilateral institutions in general and on BRICS in particular? And what do these developments mean for bilateral Indo-Russia relations?


SESSION 1: The emerging world order: COVID-19 and beyond

*What will be the impact of changing world order on the future of multilateralism and global governance?

*What will be the relevance and role of BRICS in this emerging world order?

*How will BRICS deal with a new world order in terms of the evolving internal dynamics among member-states and how will Russia and India contribute to the development of the global governance system?

*What are the shared interests of Russia and India in enhancing the multilateral healthcare system? How will this reflect on the future agenda-setting of BRICS in terms of priority areas and policy-making?

*How can BRICS help its member-states deal with the impact of COVID-19?

SESSION 2: Indo-Russia Relations in a changing world order

*What will be the impact of the changing world order on Indo-Russia relations?

*How will the COVID-19 pandemic impact Russia-India relations and their engagement within the BRICS framework?

*What can India and Russia do to re-energise BRICS and set its future agenda?


Alexey Kupriyanov, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), Russian Academy of Sciences

Lydia Kulik, Head of India Studies, SKOLKOVO Institute for Emerging Market Studies; Research Fellow, Center for Indian Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies, RAS

Nandan Unnikrishnan, Distinguished Fellow, ORF

Nivedita Kapoor, Junior Fellow, ORF

Samir Saran, President, ORF

Sergey Lunev, Professor of the Oriental Studies Department of the MGIMO University

Suhasini Haidar, National Editor and Diplomatic Affairs Editor, The Hindu

Tatiana Shaumyan, Head of the Center for Indian Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences


Nandan Unnikrishnan, Distinguished Fellow, ORF

Victoria Panova, Scientific Supervisor of the BRICS Russia Expert Council, Managing Director of the National Committee on BRICS Research

Observer Research Foundation, ORF, ORF videos, ORF interviews, ORF online

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  1. First point China- it's a black water, I cannot see what is cooking.
    Second Russia should stop speaking Chinese voice, we have great respect and it should maintain it.
    Third India and Russia enjoy trust, need to develop bi-lateral relationship, give platform for bright minds to work.
    Relationship we have is traditional and it need to be reset to make meaningful in current time.
    Last things whatever we do should be realistic and don't think we are helping others.

  2. Madam Lidiya with all your lyric about How India ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ should play a greater role in BRICS together with other member countries, I would like to request you to delve deeper rather than just making theoretically intellectually elevating statements to make audience go gaga . What Russia ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ is doing today to increase Imports from India ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ??? There are so many โ€œofficialโ€ . barriers from the Russian Customs ๐Ÿ›ƒ officials for Indian origin goods !!! Indian origin imports . You guys are happy paying twice the price for a GMO Bananas ๐ŸŒfrom Ecuador , when in fact you could have imported cheaper Non GMO bananas ๐ŸŒ from Indian subcontinent ! But one canโ€™t get past your Custom Barriers !! This is just a daily item from your table , there are numerous other….As someone rightly said in this dialogue that people are good at Eloquently theorizing and thinking ๐Ÿ’ญ!!!

  3. INDIA is not cautious about BRICS. But should we as a nation not be cautious about china who is using forceful methods to bring india on table ? INDIA for the same reason did not pay heed to Pakistan for most of the time. China thinks it is different. But in modern democracies no democratic country can afford to do that. India is capable. We feel
    good with Russians, with gulf members, with western democracies as well not because of we want them..but because the general Indian is very friendly and welcoming..wants happiness and growth. Like everybody else.

  4. China is a threat to India. It couldn't diplomatically raised the issue of border settlement but it choose to unilaterally cross and take control of certain areas. Indians are not playing into western hands but they know the level of deceit Chinese are trying by force. Can russia tolerate forceful action by China?


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