New Delhi: Since its Independence, Russia has remained a steadfast and loyal friend to India. Realizing India's potential early on, Russia and its leaders have always held India and its people in high regard and a natural mutually beneficial relationship has endured through the decades.

Recently, Delhi-Moscow ties have been subjected to unwarranted media glare and trial since the war broke out between Russia and Ukraine.

Delhi has always maintained a pro-peace, pro-people position. Despite this, many have raised questions over India's import of Russian oil and others have asked India to toe the line of the United States and the western world.

India and Russia share a unique relationship, however, one that cannot and should not be solely dictated by other countries, who are not part of this dynamic. Indian and Russian diplomatic ties have been time-tested and are economically symbiotic.

The relationship provides advantages to both countries and New Delhi will never break ties with an old friend who has stood by India's people.

India is the world's fifth largest economy and is projected to overtake Japan and Germany to become a top three world economy. (As per the projections made by S&P and Morgan Stanley)

India's economic policies have been particularly fruitful in the last few years and they are projected to continue driving the economy upwards in years to come. A surge in pent-up demand in a re-opened world will further boost India's economic growth rate.

While many countries worldwide are bearing the brunt of a high inflation-driven downturn, India's economy continues to blossom. India's pro-peace, pro-dialogue approach to world affairs is the one that makes sense for her economy and her people.

So, why should India copy the West's Russian condemnation and isolation?

''We do take side of the reason. The reason is that there should be no war. There should be peace, that the UN charter should be followed, so those are the kind of things. So, dialogue and diplomacy should be given preference and when we say so we are not merely articulating them as a matter of principle", Says Amb. Anil Trigunayat, Former Indian Diplomat.

A rational approach for an industrializing India would be to avoid any unyielding positions that may affect her growth momentum.

Be it any tech hiccup, a trade barrier or a diplomatic obstacle, India would be wise to avoid conflicts.

Indian foreign policy is determined by the interests of her own people and not by what others desire or try to dictate. India has refrained from picking sides whenever an attempt has been made to polarize the world by any individual force or any grouping.

A look back on history makes it evident that India has always been a neutral and pro-peace country. From being a co-founder of the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961 to today's unambiguous position of dialogue and diplomacy, India has, time and time again, said that she wants peace and she will always promote and pursue peace.

India's realist leadership is cognizant that it is her sustained economic efforts that will catapult her from a low-income country to a middle-income country.

It is the result of this philosophy and not one of blindly choosing sides, that India's real GDP, according to the World Bank, will register a 6.9 per cent growth in the 2022-2023 financial year. (Source: World Bank)

New Delhi has also made it clear that she will always prioritize her people over politics. Her oil import from Russia is singularly based on low-price oil availability from Russia. This should not be interpreted in any other way.

"For us, Russia has been a steady, a time-tested partner and as I said any objective evaluation of our relationship over many decades would actually confirm that it has served both our countries very, very well. It is our fundamental obligation to ensure that the Indian consumer has the best possible access to on most advantageous terms to international market", said External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar recently.

Over the years, India has had economic, military, and diplomatic needs, which Russia has always responded to considerately. Whether it was 1971, when western powers colluded with the rogue military establishment of Pakistan, or when India's gasoline-driven economy needed low-priced oil to keep its economy on track, Moscow has been a tried and tested partner to Delhi.

Their time-tested friendship coupled with an ever-expanding camaraderie provides economic and cultural benefits to both. The western world, and their media in particular, need to understand the nuances of the India-Russia bilateral relationship, one that thrives on cooperation and not on conspiracies.

There are many who say that India-Russia relations are criticized because India is emerging as an economic superpower and diplomatic heavyweight.

India's first priority has always been looking after her citizens and their interests. India's pro-peace, pro-people and pro-diplomacy approach is the one that will continue to guide Brand India towards new heights, economically, and geopolitically.