Journey Of Friendship, The Growing Proximity between China And Russia, Will It Further Disbalance The World Order And What Does It Mean For India?

Chinese President Xi Jinping started his official visit to Moscow days after Putin's war crime warrant was issued; however, not enough to put a stop to the visit aptly signals an apparent show of solidarity for Putin amid growing international East-West tensions over the war in Ukraine and can also be taken as the latest sign of Beijing's emboldened diplomatic ambitions. However, this could be tricky for India; on the one hand, it is a long-drawn friendship with Russia, and on the other, arch-rival; should India be worried?

China‘s leader, Xi Jinping, is all set to arrive in Moscow today for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin; however, many are construing this high-profile state visit to Russia as a timely opportunity to showcase China’s growing diplomatic clout on the world stage and its ambition to challenge the US-led global order.

The Chinese government has cast Xi’s three-day state visit to Russia as a “trip for peace.” Xi has also gone on to call it a ‘journey of friendship’; could this be yet another attempt to shine his image as a global statesman after Beijing hosted talks this month that led to a significant agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran?

Many in the Western world will not be wholly sold on this ‘description’, and in their eyes, it might look like a meeting of two autocrats who have for long described themselves as firm friends greeting and meeting each other even as Europe attempts to stabilize as it struggles with economic woes and fires continue to burn in Ukraine. 

While Beijing has not shied away from casting this visit as one that will play a central and constructive role at that in promoting peace talks and harbouring a direction of close for the war that has ravaged Ukraine.

And it comes just days after China achieved a major diplomatic victory by brokering a surprise fellowship between Saudi Arabia and Iran, enabling the two arch-rivals to restore diplomatic ties.

What is even more noteworthy is that the trip comes hours after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin, charging him with war crimes over Moscow’s forcible deportation of Ukrainian children.

Hence, China’s top leader is all set to dine with a suspected war criminal whom he has gone on to call a “best friend” and affirm his “no limits” partnership with a global outcast whose war has killed tens of thousands of people and wreaked devastation on the global economy.

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China’s Hand To Global Pariah

For the United States and much of Europe, Xi’s visit can be seen as a stark show of support for the increasingly isolated Putin at a time Russia’s economy is seriously affected by Western sanctions and when his military is running out of supplies.

Western officials have in recent weeks voiced concerns that China may be considering providing lethal assistance to Russia’s military. 

However, Beijing has vehemently denied these allegations and instead accused the US of prolonging the war by “adding fuel” to the battlefield and providing Ukraine with weapons.

However, this retort by Beijing has not put American officials at ease, who said they would be watching intently for indications that China is moving forward with providing weapons to Russia during Xi’s summit with Putin, and so will Ukraine.

“We really hope that China will not become an accomplice in this horrific war,” Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to Washington, told CNN.

“It’s going to be a meeting with a person who the International Criminal Court officially suspects.”

Diplomatic Roadblock?

Xi will be walking a diplomatic tightrope in Moscow as he seeks to present China as a neutral peace broker while looking to deepen ties with Russia without further embittering Europe, which has emerged as a key trade partner for Beijing that has worked towards wooing away from the US.

In a signed article published in Russian state media Monday, Xi stated his upcoming visit as “a journey of friendship, cooperation and peace,” promising to open “a new chapter” of bilateral relations.

He also asserted China has “all along upheld an objective and impartial position” on Ukraine and “actively promoted peace talks.”

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China And Russia A Growing Alliance, Problem for US And India?

The Chinese Communist Party’s official mouthpiece, The People’s Daily, published a letter the same day from Putin filled with accolades for “Comrade Xi” and his view that Western powers will one day come for China.

“It is crystal clear that NATO is striving for a global reach of activities and seeking to penetrate the Asia-Pacific,” Putin wrote.

While the timing of the Russia visit may not be a coincidence after all, as it allows the Chinese leader to capitalize on the momentum of Beijing’s recent diplomatic win in the Middle East and in shaping the trajectory of the war in Ukraine or hoping to perhaps!

China’s Continued Support To Russia

Although China claims neutrality and calls for peace talks, Beijing has offered Moscow much-needed diplomatic and economic support throughout the invasion.

China has more or less parroted Russian propaganda, accusing the West of provoking the war in Ukraine and continually sided with Russia in thwarting international action against Moscow for the invasion.

It has expanded trade links, buying vast amounts of oil and energy gas at discounted prices from Russia. China’s People’s Liberation Army has also continued to conduct joint military exercises with the Russian military.

Joint Military Exercise

The Russian defence military, just days before the official visit, said Russia, China, and Iran have completed three-way naval exercises in the Arabian Sea, thus sending a powerful message of defiance to the Western alliance.

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China, Russia And India

The meeting between the Presidents of Russia and China has raised many questions about how it will affect India’s relationship with both countries. The two leaders are said to discuss a range of topics, including economic cooperation, security issues, and regional stability (Ukraine war).

Russia and China have long been allies in international affairs, but their relationship has grown even closer in recent years. This is due to several factors, such as increased trade ties between the two countries and joint military exercises that demonstrate their commitment to each other’s defence.

This growing proximity between Russia and China could be seen as a potential threat to India. On the one hand, it could mean that Moscow may become more inclined to support Beijing on certain matters at the expense of New Delhi’s interests. On the other hand, it could also lead to greater competition for resources or influence in areas where India is already active such as Central Asia or South Asia.

At the same time, though, there are some positive aspects for India from this development too. For example, suppose Russia and China can cooperate more closely. In that case, they may be able to help resolve some of the regional disputes that have been ongoing for decades now – something which would benefit all parties involved, including India itself. 

Additionally, increased economic ties between these two powers could open up new opportunities for Indian businesses looking to expand into either market or take advantage of any new deals they negotiate.

Conclusion: Ultimately, only time will tell what effect this growing closeness between Russia and China will have on India’s relations with both countries going forward – whether good or bad remains to be seen! 

In any case, though, it is certainly an issue worth keeping an eye on, given its potential implications not just for New Delhi but also for global politics.


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