Russia-China Nexus and India

Synopsis: Russia-China nexus is growing. Thus, Russia expects India to give up all efforts to reverse China’s encroachment strategies. However, it is based on a flawed assessment of the current situation.

  • Russian President has recently said that both the Indian Prime Minister and the Chinese President are “responsible” enough to solve issues.
  • It also emphasized the need to avoid interference of any extra-regional power.
  • On the other hand, China is continuing its efforts to undermine India’s global position.
  • Also, India has said it can no longer be confined between the Malacca Strait and the Gulf of Aden.

Russia supporting China blindly is further distancing India and Russia.

How Russia is undermining India’s efforts against China’s encroachment strategy?

  • Firstly, Russia’s views regarding the Quad reinforces China’s claim that the Quad is aimed at containing China.
    • Recently, Russia even advised India to take a “larger look at Chinese foreign policies”.
    • Also, Russia had recently termed the Quad as “Asian NATO”.
  • Secondly, Russia has rejected the Indo-Pacific concept in favor of the Asia-Pacific.
    • Russia believes that Indo-Pacific is designed to contain both China and Russia, and it is reviving the Cold War mentality.
  • Thirdly, Russia’s policymakers are obsessive with Russia’s rivalry with the U.S.
    • This attitude of Russia is making it more pro-China, which is resulting in more aggressive blocking of India’s policy agendas.
    • For example, increasing proximity between Russia and Pakistan.

Why India Started looking west during geo-political changes in the past?

  1. Firstly, due to the failure of the Strategic triangle proposed by Russia.
    • Russia proposed the ‘Russia-China-India’ triangle to bring together the three major power.
    • But due to China’s dismissive attitude and emerging China-Pakistan nexus, India started investing its diplomatic energies in rapprochement with the United States.
  2. Secondly, after the disintegration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), India realized Russia is incapable of balancing threats from China.
    • For example. India’s cooperation with the U.S. has strengthened due to rising terrorism and China’s growing assertiveness.
    • India has also deepened its ties with Japan and Australia for a soft balancing.
    • Thus, India adopted external balancing strategies.
  3. Thirdly, India focussed on building an alternative international economic order.
    • Economic liberalization also allowed India to buy defense weapons from a wider global market, such as Israel and France. It boosted India’s bargaining capacity with Russia.
  4. Fourthly, China’s assertiveness forced India to look for other strategic partnerships.
    • The shared identities and beliefs in the principle of non-alignment, memories of colonial subjugation, and strong beliefs in sovereignty and strategic autonomy have not stopped China from asserting its hegemony over Asia.
    • Also, multilateral forums such as the Russia-India-China (RIC) grouping and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have little practical value without China’s reciprocity.
  5. Lastly, India wanted the normalization of relations between the USA and Russia.
    • It helps in improving ties among the great powers and also diminishes Russia’s tendency to closely interfere in South Asian policies along with Beijing.

It clearly shows Russia needs to realize that the real ‘strategic triangle’ in the maritime domain will be that between India-USA-China if it continues to play as junior partner of China.

Source: The Hindu

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