Strategic Partnership : Indo-China-Russia

Strategic Partnership between India, China and Russia is one of the important Strategic Partnerships in present times. Below are the important points to remember for this.

Strategic Partnership | Background

In 1998, after Anglo-American bombing of Iraq, Russia broached vague notion of a “strategic triangle” composed of Russia, China, and India that would serve as a stabilizing force in international security.

Strategic Partnership | Possibilities

  • Russia, China, and India all support an enhanced role for UN.
  • All three are sensitive to violations of national sovereignty and are reluctant to support international mediation of civil conflicts because of challenges to their own territorial integrity in Taiwan, Kashmir, and Chechnya.
  • China, Russia, and India share sensitivities about Islamic threats, as each country has large Muslim populations and each shares borders with states containing Muslim majorities.
  • In particular, all three fear that increasingly weak and failing states of Central Asia will serve as conduits for more radical Muslim groups, terrorist activities, and drug trafficking, which will erode their authority in peripheral territories.

Strategic Partnership | Cross- cutting & mitigating factors

  • On nuclear security, triangular dynamics between Russia, China, and India become far more complicated.
  • Both Russia and China denounced India’s nuclear tests in 1998, although Russia’s criticism was milder, and both have urged India to sign CTBT and NPT.
  • If nuclear rivalry between China and India intensifies, Russia’s nonpartisan stance as strategic partner to both may become less sustainable.
  • Possible US deployment of national missile defense systems also elicits different kinds of concerns from Moscow, Beijing, and New Delhi.
  • If Russia were to reach agreement with US about modification of Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty to allow for deployment of a limited national missile defense system, Sino-Russian relationship would suffer.
  • However, Russia is also concerned about catalyzing a more rapid Chinese nuclear build-up. With deployed Russian nuclear forces on a downward trajectory, emergence of a more robust Chinese nuclear deterrent in future is unsettling.
  • Moscow has consistently upheld one-China policy and firmly supports China’s efforts to reunify with Taiwan. But it seems that Russia’s interests are best served by continuing U.S.-Chinese tension over Taiwan because it increases Moscow’s leverage with Washington and Beijing.
  • Overall Sino-Russian relationship is better than at any time since 1950s, but foundation remains rather shaky. A measured and balanced look at would suggest that two countries continue and even increase strategic cooperation, to meet security interests of both without compromising their primary focus on economic development, which also requires cooperative relations with West.
  • Russia shares a long border with China and a long history of often bitter and complex relations. There is an implicit Russian hedge position on China that is amplified by a growing sense of economic and demographic vulnerability of Russian Far East and, to a lesser extent, of Moscow’s “sphere of influence” in Central Asia. Perhaps for the near future China will focus on its interests in Taiwan and South China Sea, but there exists a barely veiled Russian fear that continued Russian weakness will invite Chinese infiltration and eventual control of some Russian territory.
  • Initially giving long-time friendly partner India cold shoulder after collapse of USSR, Russia steadily sought to strengthen ties with New Delhi through 1990s. Process culminated with Vladimir Putin’s trip to India when “strategic partnership” between India and Russia was formally established. However, Indian and Russian interests do not precisely coincide regarding Pakistan or Taliban.

Strategic Partnership | Road Ahead

  • Despite common interests and common suspicions, all three understand significance of this trilateral platform for various global and regional issues:
  • Strengthening international legal framework underlying modern world order and neutralisation of common challenges.
  • Setting up of a broad counter-terrorist front with UN playing a central role and stepping up efforts to combat global drug threat.
  • Creating a new security and cooperation architecture in Asia-Pacific region.
  • Situation in North Africa, Middle East including Syria, and situation in Afghanistan and Ukraine.
  • Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will provide another platform for these nations to work together.

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