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Why a Russia-India-China alliance is an idea whose time has come?

Discussion in 'International Relations' started by brahmos_ii, Oct 25, 2013.

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  1. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    India's economist Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is usually economical with words but nevertheless he offers clues that something is afoot in the BRICS-scape. In Moscow on Monday he thanked Russia for backing India when “our friends were fewâ€. A day later in Beijing he said, “China is our great neighbour.â€

    This is the same Prime Minister who in September 2008 – a few weeks before George W. Bush vacated office – told the most unpopular US President in memory: “The people of India love you.â€

    It didn’t matter whether Singh was merely being polite or if he really had no idea what he was talking about. What mattered was the Prime Minister displayed poor judgement by showing the Americans his cards.

    Making the right moves
    But in Beijing, Singh’s words elicited what is perhaps the most significant statement ever on India from the inscrutable Chinese. India-China, said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, is the “most important bilateral friendship in the worldâ€.

    That’s not a mere statement – that’s a tectonic shift. In fact, a hint that Beijing’s attitude towards India was softening was evident in a path breaking editorial in China Daily last year: “The boundary question is just a tiny part of China-India relations."

    The newspaper, which reflects official policy in China, went on to say the two countries are "cooperative partners, not competitive rivals, as they have far more common ground than differencesâ€.

    The two countries also signed a border agreement which the Chinese side described as a "landmark" legal document to regulate the behaviour of troops on both sides.

    Triple Entente
    The Prime Ministers of India and Russia both arriving in Beijing on the same day had political strategists wondering if Chinese President Xi Jinping is trying to develop a new alliance.

    According to the Taiwan-based China Times News Group, “Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov first came up with the idea of a trilateral alliance between Russia, China and India back in the 1990s, with a major breakthrough occurring in July 2006 at the G8 summit in St Petersburg when President Vladimir Putin organised a meeting between the leaders of the three countries at the time.â€

    China syndrome
    China has its reasons to seek comfort in the company of India and Russia. Despite its spectacular economic growth and high octane military spending, the Asian giant is feeling the pressure of the West’s containment strategy. America’s pivot to Asia has seen entire US Navy fleets – that once patrolled the Atlantic and Indian Oceans –streaming into the Pacific. The huge US Marines presence in Darwin, Australia, is specifically targeted at Beijing.

    The Chinese leadership is therefore keen to neutralise American designs to bottle up their ambitions in the Asia-Pacific. Beijing realises no matter how powerful it becomes, on its own it cannot take on the combined might of the United States, India and Japan, with Taiwan, ASEAN and Australia providing key support. Only by allying themselves with India and Russia, the clever Hans believe, can they checkmate American efforts to acquire a dominant position in the region.

    Delhi disillusioned
    American diplomat Henry Kissinger once said about India and China: “It serves our purposes best if we maintained closer relations with each side than they did with each other.â€

    Well, Henry your time's up. India would hardly be pleased to play the role of America's sheriff in South Asia. That would be demeaning to a country like India, which expects to be a heavy hitter in the decades ahead. Most Indians believe they are destined to be a great power even as the West shrinks back to isolated pockets in North America and Europe.

    The decline of the American economy – which seems overly dependent on wars – has been a rude wakeup call to the World Bank clique that operates in India’s Finance Ministry. If the American model of growth can no longer feed Americans, how can it work for less wealthier countries such as India?

    While the Western democratic traditions have not benefitted much of the planet, the rival model of authoritarian prosperity espoused by Russia and China has yielded dramatic results.

    Much of the big-ticket economic activity now originates in Asia. The big news from Beijing this week was the signing of an $85 billion oil deal between Russia and China. More mega deals will follow as Russia lays out transcontinental pipelines to feed the ravenous economies of the East.

    Power play
    A major spinoff of a China-Russia-India alliance is it will breathe life into the largely dormant Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. While BRICS is an economic grouping, the SCO has the potential to be a NATO-like military alliance that could ward off Western or Islamic adventurism in Eurasia.

    The Western media rarely fails to highlight the disparate nature of the BRICS members, especially the India-China border flashpoint. At the same time, the SCO is mocked as the Dictator’s Club. Much to the West’s chagrin, that’s going to change as India’s entry smoothens out the SCO’s non-democratic image.

    Also, a militarised SCO could eliminate the possibility of an India-China – and perhaps even India-Pakistan – military conflict.

    Red rage or red herring
    Not everyone is convinced a triple alliance will happen. Zhou Fangyin, a global strategist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told Duowei News, that the chances of a China-Russia-India alliance are close to zero. The timing for China to form alliances is not yet right, Zhou said, adding that the areas of cooperation right now are extremely limited.

    Another obstacle is China’s troublesome but “all-weather†friend Pakistan. Beijing signed a friendship treaty with Islamabad in 2005, so any alliance with India would have to wait until the treaty expires in 2015. At any rate, Pakistan has been more of a bargaining chip to be used against India and the United States.

    Historic necessity
    But these are small irritants. The bigger picture is India and China are not natural enemies, and with Beijing having dumped communism back in the 1970s, there is no ideological rivalry either. If India can come to terms with the fact that it is attached to a line scrawled across the Himalayas by the British colonialists -- who were intent on destroying the civilisations on either side of it -- total peace can come to the Himalayas.

    As usual, saner voices on India-China relations come from the West. M. Taylor Fravel, an Associate Professor of Political Science and a member of the Security Studies Programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says: “China views India as a rising power that can help China limit the potential influence of the United States in various arenas, especially in international institutions.â€

    In 2007 economist Angus Maddison had made one of the most astonishing revelations of the 20th century with his OECD funded study on the world economy. He said that in the year 1001 CE, India was the richest country on earth, accounting for a full third of the global GDP, followed by China and the Roman Empire.

    After the Islamic onslaughts, India yielded the top spot to China in the 1700s, with the two having a combined 50 per cent share of the global economy.

    By the 1900s after the European colonial powers had stripped both countries of their wealth and industry, China and India were down to around 3 and 1 per cent respectively.

    The tide is now turning. Financial power, manufacturing might and military prowess are all moving East. An India-China entente would be keeping in step with this historic rightsizing. Adding Russia to the mix just speeds up that process.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Fifteen years after then Russian prime minister Yevgeny Primakov suggested that Russia, India and China come together to form a “strategic triangle” that could provide an alternative view of the world from the dominant narrative of the US, the three powers have still not evolved to become an integrated whole that is more than a sum of its parts.

    Primakov’s fundamental premise, that the US’ lone superpower status needed to be challenged after the end of the Cold War which had ended with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, has since evolved in so many different ways.

    China has clearly changed the most, rapidly transforming itself economically and militarily to become the second-most powerful country in the world, after the US. Russia retains its significant nuclear-missile presence and refuses to shy away from its use of the powerful veto in the UN Security Council. India, meanwhile, has not only become a de facto nuclear power, it has also powered its way to a socio-economic revival of sorts, although much more remains to be done.

    So when the foreign ministers of the three powers met in New Delhi last week – Sergei Lavrov of Russia, Wang Yi of China and Salman Khurshid of India – for their third stand-alone meeting, that old question Lenin once famously asked, “What is to be done?,” must have stared all the leaders in the face.

    The question that remains is, did these leaders acknowledge in the first place that, indeed, there remained a lot to be done between their nations across the Asia-European space? And if they did, then what areas of convergence did they reach?

    The truth is that the Russia-India-China trilateral is still a grouping of secondary importance, primarily because all three countries are constantly evolving and adjusting their positions in relation to the rise and fall of the pole star, which remains the US, even if it is considerably weakened by its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    China is a classic example of a nation that has invested one trillion dollars in the US Treasury, but whose well-known scholar Hu Shisheng, director of the Institute of South and Southeast Asian and Oceania Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, last week told the ‘China Daily’ newspaper that all three nations remain unsatisfied with the current world order dominated by the West and are seeking to reinforce the emerging countries' global voice.

    Russia, whose international stature was considerably enhanced through president Vladimir Putin’s flexible diplomacy in Syria, remains an economically weak power that is heavily dependent on selling its natural resources to the West (such as oil and gas).

    And India, whose undemarcated 4000 odd- km-long border with China continues to be at the centre of a basket of tensions that includes a heavily unequal volume of trade in favour of Beijing, seeks to diversify its strategic partnership with the US in the military, strategic and economic spheres.

    This means that all three nations, Russia, India and China, are constantly assessing their own relationships with regard to the pre-eminent power, the US, which leaves their leaderships with little bandwidth to reinvent the trilateral grouping to suit their own circumstances.

    This is a pity because all three Asian powers – and Russia is surely as much of an Asian power as it is a European one -- have the capacity to exercise considerable influence in a variety of ways and make a difference to the future of the continent.

    After all, as China’s Wang Yi said at the conference in Delhi, Russia, China and India not only occupy 22 percent of the world’s territory, they also link three oceans and share 40 percent of the world’s population.

    That’s a lot of advantages to start from, which means that if the three powers want they can certainly shape the world together. From all accounts, at the New Delhi meeting, the three foreign ministers discussed the future of Afghanistan, especially after the US draws down from the country in mid-2014, as well as the urgent need to combat terrorism and counter drug trade, which as Khurshid said, “is as great a menace as terrorism and is in fact to intrinsically linked in many ways as it finances terrorism.”

    India is especially concerned about the problem of terrorism emanating from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. In the wake of the October 28 terrorist attack on Tiananmen square in the heart of Beijing, which the Chinese have put down to separatists from Xinjiang, Beijing has become even more concerned about the training these Uighur separatists have received from the same sources as the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban.

    Which is why, in Delhi, Wang Yi called for help from the international community to become much more involved with the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan. (It seems as if the opposite is taking place, with most NATO countries having withdrawn troops or in the act of withdrawing them from that country.)

    Particularly, Wang Yi said, there existed the need to ensure smooth elections in Afghanistan on April 5, 2014, support the political reconciliation process which must be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned and the UN must be supported to coordinate international assistance.

    Meanwhile, Lavrov pointed out that “Russia, India and China will spare no effort to make Afghanistan a peaceful, independent and prosperous state. We have agreed to invigorate this work in the United Nations and within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)."

    The Chinese foreign minister also sought to refocus the discussion on enhancing the exploitation of the region’s natural resources, through the building of the Silk Route Economic Corridor and the Asia-European Continental Bridge.

    Although China and Russia have recently become much more economically integrated, with oil and gas pipelines from the Russian East feeding China’s huge appetite for energy resources as well as much greater collaboration on the defence and strategic front, there remains some unease in Moscow about China ramping up its presence in the region and elsewhere.

    Certainly, India is seriously unhappy about the Chinese refusing to open their market to branded Indian goods, especially in the information technology and services as well as in the pharmaceuticals sectors. Chinese officials say that Indian companies must play by the same rules that apply to all other Western companies, but Indian companies have argued otherwise, pointing out that they have to undertake trials for the Chinese market that are costly and undercut profit.

    As 2013 draws to an end, the truth is that Russia, China and India will continue to individually jockey for power and influence in the changing world order, even as a continuing trust deficit will prevent them from undertaking strategic cooperation.

    To transform the RIC trilateral into more than a talkshop, it might be necessary for the grouping to be sustained on the ground with concrete initiatives as well as ramped up to a heads of state and government level. That would book-end the current foreign ministerial initiative and allow it to think out of the box on even more issues.
     
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  3. Criminal

    Criminal FULL MEMBER

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    Alliance with China ???

    this Idea is very .................... :bad:
     
  4. INDIAN NATIONALIST

    INDIAN NATIONALIST Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    To my knowledge India has never done anything to sabotage such a friendship, and has always maintained friendly diplomatic relations and growing industrial ties, despite continued (and gradually escalating) Chinese aggression. In fact, there are few nations that would have put up with China as much as India has. Largely due to political incompetence, admittedly.
    If there is to be a friendship, at some point the other party has to be... friendly??

    Regardless, cooperation between western nations comes a little more naturally to them because they're variants of the same people and culture with a shared history. While Asian cultures and people do share many similarities, Russians, Indians, and Chinese come from relatively different lineages of civilization.

    That's not to say it can't happen; only, it won't happen unless there's particularly good reason. I'm not urgently concerned about this; India's focus should remain competitive self-sufficiency in all fields.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013
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  5. vstol jockey

    vstol jockey Colonel MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    This is a dream which will never come true.
     
  6. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    These power center lacks trust and will to forge relationships which look beyond minor skirmishes and solve their issue amicably. And this relationship would highly diplomatic than forming so called strategic triangle.
     
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  7. Manmohan Yadav

    Manmohan Yadav Brigadier STAR MEMBER

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    Its a dream not worth dreaming
     
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  8. Foxtrot

    Foxtrot Captain SENIOR MEMBER

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    In international relations, you do not have permanent friends or enemies..........what u have is - "Vital national interests".

    And what it seems currently that the vital national interests of India and China r on a collision course. Until we can find some playground where there is space for both of us.
     
  9. sangos

    sangos Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    Putin looks like he is trying to scare the pants off Obama with that pose:evilgrin:
     
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