A new Sino-Russian alliance: What are its implications for India?

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Source– The post is based on the article “A new Sino-Russian alliance: What are its implications for India?” published in The Indian Express on 1st February 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests

Relevance– India in changing global order

News– The article explains the emerging Sino-Russian alliance and its strategic implication. It also explains the Russian calculations behind the Ukraine war and its impacts.

China and Russia unveiled a partnership “without limits” and with no “forbidden areas” in Feb 2022. Russia and China had a strategic partnership for a long time. The Beijing declaration did lay out a solid basis for jointly confronting the West.

What were the Russian calculations for invading Ukraine?

Putin had hoped that his military offensive would lead to quick collapse of the regime in Ukraine and occupation of Ukraine. This will impact the European security order.

It will deeply divide Europe and fracture the US-led trans-Atlantic security system. After the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, occupation of Ukraine will further undermine the credibility of the US as a global power.

Putin’s victory in Europe would have had a dramatic impact on Asia. It would have weakened US alliances in Asia and boosted China’s ambition to radically reshape its periphery. China would have used force for unification with Taiwan.

How has the Ukraine war played out?

Ukraine’s determination has prevented the quick collapse of the regime in Kyiv. It has helped to mobilise massive military assistance from the Western world.

Putin is locked in a stalemate. He has lost nearly 50% of the territory Russia gained in eastern Ukraine during the early phase of the invasion.

Russia’s military material and manpower losses have been immense. Moscow faces a harsh regime of Western economic sanctions.

What are the geostrategic implications of the Sino-Russia alliance and Ukraine war?

Putin and Xi have facilitated the Western unity under American leadership. The Ukraine invasion has also allowed the US to put simultaneous pressure on both China and Russia.

In Europe, the Ukraine war has helped the US to galvanize and expand NATO.

The Russian invasion has also triggered the fear of Chinese territorial expansionism in Asia. This has led to the strengthening of US bilateral alliances with Australia and Japan. The US has significantly raised its military and political support for Taiwan.

The Sino-Russian alliance and the Ukraine war have seen Germany and Japan joining the battle against Moscow and Beijing.

Japan and Germany happen to be the world’s third and fourth largest economies. Their mobilisation significantly alters the so-called “balance of powers” between the West and the Moscow-Beijing axis.

Both Berlin and Tokyo are now committed to raising their defence spending to deal with the security challenges from Moscow and Beijing.

Washington is limiting the influence of Russia and China in Eurasia by bringing its alliances and partnerships in Europe and Asia closer.

Leaders of America’s Asian allies joined for the first time a NATO summit last June in Madrid. NATO has promised to take a greater interest in shaping the Indo-Pacific balance of power.

There is a growing prospect that Moscow will become more beholden to Beijing after Putin’s military misadventure in Ukraine. Beijing is unlikely to abandon Moscow. A weakened Putin will remain a valuable asset for Xi even as Beijing seeks to limit some of the new Western hostility to China.

How is it impacting India?

China can increase the military pressure on the disputed border with India.

Delhi depends on Russian military supplies to cope with the PLA challenge and Moscow is now a junior partner to Beijing. This is certainly not a good situation for India.

Dependence on Russian arms has severely constrained India’s position on Ukraine. It has cast a shadow over Delhi’s engagement with Europe and the US. It is now the biggest constraint on India’s freedom of action.

India is facing the prospect of a unipolar Asia dominated by a rising and assertive China. So. it has turned to the US and its allies to restore the regional balance of power.

The transition has become more urgent and complicated by the new Sino-Russian alliance Ukraine war.

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