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It might take time for Russia to devise similar alternative solutions with its myriad Global South partners, especially those that aren't as much of a priority for it as India is, which is why everyone involved might find it much more convenient to simply rely on the Indian bank(s) that could reportedly be used to this end for conducting their bilateral trade. India would profit, impressively flex its strategic autonomy, and uphold its shared Neo-NAM vision with Russia.

The Hindustan Times reported on Sunday that India is on the brink of finalizing an alternative payment system to carry on trade with Russia, one which would be conducted in national currencies. The outlet quoted JNU trade economist Biswajit Dhar who explained that "When an Indian bank is finalised, Russia will deposit ruble in it, while India will deposit rupees...Russian will use all the rupees it gets from Indian importers to then buy goods from India. Indian exporters will use all the rubles they get from Russia to pay for imports from Russia." If it enters into force, then this would be a pragmatic workaround for continuing trade without the threat of the US' so-called "secondary sanctions". It would also make good on their recently reaffirmed strategic partnership's ambitious economic and financial vision.

There might be a lot more potential than just that, though, since India might even facilitate the Global South's alternative financial transactions with Russia too. After all, these two Great Powers unofficially aim to jointly assemble a new Non-Aligned Movement ("Neo-NAM") in order to create a third pole of influence in the increasingly bi-multipolar world order. The unprecedented US-led Western pressure campaign upon Russia in response to their target's special military operation in Ukraine aims to ensure its sustained "isolation" from the global economy, yet the Kremlin recently cultivated very comprehensive ties with a broad range of Global South states over the past decade that won't be so easily sabotaged by this HybridWar scheme.

It's of grand strategic significance for India to ensure that Russia is capable of maintaining these relations upon which their joint Neo-NAM vision is expected to be built. While the Kremlin can likely do so bilaterally with each of its partners, India is already a well-established and reputable economic-financial partner for an array of Global South states that might be interested in taking advantage of the alternative channel that it's pioneering with Russia. It might ultimately be much more convenient for Russia and its Global South partners to consider continuing their trade, whether in whole or in part, through the Indian bank(s) that might form the basis of future Russian-Indian trade. Nobody would doubt the reliability of this channel since their historical strategic partnership is considered unbreakable.

Furthermore, India flexed its characteristic strategic autonomy by defying the US' CAATSA sanctions threats by going through with its S-400 air defense deal with Russia, showing the world that it won't bow to American demands that threaten its national interests. Those systems are important for its national security, ergo why India remained committed to the agreement, so it follows that it might similarly be interested in facilitating the Global South's trade with Russia via its bank(s) since this is important for its grand strategic vision with respect to the Neo-NAM. India already crossed the Rubicon by openly defying the US' very clearly articulated CAATSA sanctions threats so it might very well help others pioneer alternative trade channels with Russia to get around much vaguer financial threats.

Indian strategists would do well to contemplate the benefits in doing so since their country must continue presenting itself as a more reliable all-around partner for Russia than China is. There's concern among some in New Delhi that Moscow might be compelled to become disproportionately dependent on Beijing in light of the US-led West's unprecedented pressure campaign against it, the outcome of which would be detrimental for Indian strategic interests. It's unclear whether events will truly move in that direction or not, but India can preemptively avert that scenario by discretely discussing the possibility of facilitating other Global South countries' trade with Russia via its bank(s) that will reportedly be used for continuing bilateral trade with its top strategic partner.

It might take time for Russia to devise similar alternative solutions with its myriad Global South partners, especially those that aren't as much of a priority for it as India is, which is why everyone involved might find it much more convenient to simply rely on the Indian bank(s) that could reportedly be used to this end for conducting their bilateral trade. It should be remembered that none of this violates American sanctions since trade would be conducted in national currencies, thus simply representing a pragmatic workaround engineered in response to the latest circumstances, so no one should be concerned about coming under the US' "secondary sanctions" threats for participating in this proposal. India would profit, impressively flex its strategic autonomy, and uphold its shared Neo-NAM vision with Russia.