China-Russia Relationship

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    • Recently, China and Russia outlined a sweeping vision for the future of their already close relations as their two leaders met in Beijing.

    Major Takeaways of the meet 

    • The joint statement outlined the two sides’ common stand on a range of issues from democracy and human rights to the security situation in Europe and Asia.
    • Amid the tensions in Ukraine and the build-up of Russian forces, the joint statement hit out at NATO accusing it of expansionism and called on the security grouping “to abandon its ideological Cold War approaches.
    • Both sides “remain highly vigilant about the negative impact of the United States’ Indo-Pacific strategy on peace and stability in the region” and called for “building an equitable, open and inclusive security system in the Asia-Pacific Region (APR)”.
      •  Both China and Russia do not use the term “Indo-Pacific”.
    • The two sides said they were “seriously concerned about the trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom (AUKUS)”. 
    • The two sides also announced a number of agreements, including energy deals as well as an agreement to cooperate on building complementarity between their two global satellite navigation systems, GLONASS and BeiDou.

    Objectives 

    • The meet was intended to demonstrate that Russia and China were on the same page on the “core interests” of upholding “international equity and justice” in the face of US “unilateralism”, and supported each other against “external interference and regional security threats”.

    Evolution of Russia China Relations 

    • Relations between China and the former Soviet Union were frosty, marked by mistrust and doctrinal differences for most of the Cold War decades. 
    • The change came in 1989 when Mikhail Gorbachev became the first Soviet leader to land in Beijing since Nikita Khrushchev in 1958. 
    • In 2001, the two countries signed the Treaty of Good Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation, paving the way for expanding economic and trade ties, including sales of defence equipment and energy by Russia to China, and Russia’s backing for China’s position on Taiwan.
      • Since 2016, trade between the two countries has gone from $ 50 bn to over $147 bn. China is now Russia’s largest trading partner. 
    • Turning points: 
      • Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea in Ukraine led to a sharp downturn in Moscow’s ties with the US, NATO, and Europe
      • This was also the turning point in Russia’s ties with China, which revealed the possibilities, potential, and limits of the relationship.
        • When the US, EU, and Australia imposed sanctions on Russia, Putin turned reflexively to Beijing.
      • Russia opened its doors wide for Chinese investments, and struck a $400 billion deal for Gazprom, the Russian state monopoly gas exporter, to supply 38 billion cubic metres (bcm) annually to China for 30 years from 2025.
      • Towards a modus vivendi in Central Asia, the two countries agreed to work towards speeding up the linking of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union and the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

    How does it affect India’s interest ?

    • The relationship between India and Russia is clearly strong and robust, with very few conflicts of interest.
      • Russia has been a longstanding and time-tested partner for India. The development of India-Russia relations has been a key pillar of India’s foreign policy.
    • Despite all the issues between India and China, India’s trade with China in 2021 crossed $125 billion, with imports from China nearing a record $100 billion, underlining continued demand for a range of Chinese goods, particularly machinery.
    • The Russia-China statement did not mention China’s border dispute with India; it only made a reference to developing cooperation among the three countries.
      •  Russia reiterated that Kashmir was an issue for India -Pakistan to resolve bilaterally. 
    • China and Russia announced that they would deepen cooperation with India through the Russia-India-China (RIC) framework and also work to boost the BRICS grouping.

    Way Ahead 

    • Russia’s relationship with China should not affect the strong Indo-Russian relationship, just as the development of a relationship between India and the U.S. should not be a sticking point between India and Russia
    • In this crisis of the geopolitics of Europe and Asia in real-time,it is imperative for India to treat its relations with both countries(Russia-China) and the US separately — or it runs the risk of shrinking its own space. 

    Source: IE