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Russia-China Axis Intensification: Implications For India – Analysis

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Russia-China Axis intensification in 2022 more significantly evident post-Ukraine with Russia and China ranged defiantly against virtually the entire world reminiscent of templates of Cold War 1.0 Grave security implications ensue for India consequently besides imposing on India the imperatives of reset of its foreign policy compass.

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India stares at geopolitical challenges wherein China, India’s implacable foe in 2022 is strategically joined at the hip with Russia long regarded as India’s countervailing option against China’s unrestrained belligerence against India. Russia today has also joined China’s bandwagon in terms of adversarial postures against India.

Russia would not have had the strategic audacity to undertake the unjustified invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 without being secure in the belief that China will not only protect Russia’s Eastern flank on the Pacific but also that China will  offset the devastating economic sanctions that would be imposed on Russia post-Ukraine.

The Russia-China Axis in 2022 is for all analytical purposes a “Military Alliance” short of name. Russia and China security consultations and synchronising of strategic and military moves has become a regular feature arising from deep geopolitical & geostrategic convergences that have evolved between them.

Lately, when dots are joined of Russian and Chines moves in Europe, the Middle East and Indo Pacific, the Russia-China Axis designs stand out more clearly.

 To this needs to be added, that Russia and China are authoritarian regimes lorded over by megalomaniac Communist dictators not answerable or responsive to public opinion at home. Both of them merrily defy international laws and conventions as they indulge in military adventurism.

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Russia and China’s massive nuclear and missiles arsenals and military naval and air force might empowers them to indulge in shameless aggression , secure in the belief the belief that United States,,, NATO and other democracies take long times to counter Hitlerian regimes.

The gravest implications of the concretising of Russia-China Axis emerge for Indian security. These grave security implications for India centre not merely on India’s military inventories dependent on Russian military hardware but more significantly that India has now not only to face China and Pakistan as implacable enemies but also that the Russia-China Axis stiffens the military might of both China and Pakistan.

Security-wise, my writings for a couple of years dwelt on the emergence of China-Pakistan-Russia Trilateral which not only paved the way for increase in Russia=Pakistan military and security ties but also the Trilateral  concerted efforts to side-line India from Moscow sponsored Afghanistan peace processes. It would be fair to state that Russian not only acted under Chinese pressure but also of its volition.

Both the Russian Foreign Minister and Presidential Advisor Kabulov spearheaded this Russian tilt. Surely, no cogent reasons exist for India for continuance of ‘Strategic Trust’ in Russia.

Serious implications for India’s military operations would occur in the event of Russia imposing arms-embargoes in the event of India’s armed conflicts with Pakistan or China or the China-Pakistan Axis taken together. It would be military naivety on India’s security establishment to assume that this eventuality would not arise.

If Russia has irretrievably cast its strategic weight with Russia, shifted its South Asian preferences away from Indian strategic sensitivities and stepped back from an existential countervailing weight against Chinese aggression against India, should the India’s foreign policy and security establishment not recognise the imperatives of  a ‘RESET INDIA’S FOREIGN POLICY COMPASS’

India cannot go on pretending that Russia would in due course and change tack to revert to old days of Russia-India bonhomie. The unfolding geopolitical churning cutting across the globe and the polarisation underway induced by Russian Invasion of Ukraine and China’s aggression in South China Sea and Taiwan signal a “Point of No Return’ of Russia and China to assume roles of responsible stakeholders in global security and peace.

In view of the foregoing discussion, the moot question is that a ‘Tipping Point’ has reached for the Indian security and foreign policy establishments to a ‘Reset of Indian Foreign Policy.

Russia and China cannot any longer be the vectors of Indian foreign policy. India cannot be on the wrong side of global geopolitics and global polarisation. During Cold War 2.0 India will have no bandwidth to revel in the traditional shibboleths of Indian foreign policy—-Non-alignment, Non-0lignment 2.0 or Strategic Autonomy?

Concluding, what needs to be stressed is that since India has already moved far ahead in terms of institutionalising Indian security objectives and with  growing strategic convergences with United States, the West and QUAD, India should not send confusing signals to Global Democracies that it still has lingering affections for the Russia-China Axis. The first step is to exit from Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and AIDB.

Dr. Subhash Kapila

Dr Subhash Kapila combines a rich and varied professional experience of Indian Army Brigadier ( Veteran), diplomatic assignments in the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Bhutan. Served in India's Cabinet Secretariat also. He is a Graduate of Royal British Army Staff College, Camberley, UK, Msc Defence Studies from Madras University and a Doctorate in Strategic Studies from Allahabad University. Papers have been presented by him in International Seminars in Japan,Turkey, Russia and Vietnam. Credited to him are over 1,500 Papers on geopolitical & strategic topical issues and foreign policies of USA, Japan, India, China and Indo Pacific Asia. He has authored two Books : "India's Defence Policies & Strategic Thought: A Comparative Analysis" and "China-India Military Confrontation: 21st Century Perspectives"

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