Ukraine-Russia War: China’s Opportunities – OpEd


The Ukraine-Russia War has provided vast opportunities to China. Russia is being overshadowed by China in all spheres. Besides, China’s BRI strategy is linked to Asian and Central Asian security and economic issues. Beijing uses its enlarged economic presence to seek country influence with Russia having to keep quite under the present circumstances. Ukraine war has seen a serious fall out by creating a critical security dilemma to Central Asian Republics which have so far been tied to Russia for security and economic linkages. 

At the 17th G20 Summit held in Bali, Indonesia on 15th November President Xi Jinping spoke under the title “Working Together to Meet the Challenges of Our Times and Build a Better Future”. He said that it is imperative that all countries advocate Peace and development. All countries should replace division with unity, confrontation with cooperation, and exclusion with inclusiveness. “No one should engage in creating closed and exclusive clubs.” 

President Xi Jinping Preaches But Practices

China hosted the first meeting of the Indian Ocean Region Forum on Development Cooperation on November 21 but kept India out of it. The meeting was organised by China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) and was held in a hybrid manner under the theme of “Shared Development: “Blue Economy.” 

Biggest Diplomatic Initiative in the Arab world. China’s President Xi Jinping landed in Saudi Arabia on December 8 for a three-day-long state visit. Chinese media claimed the visit was the country’s “Biggest Diplomatic Initiative in the Arab world.” Xi Jinping signed a comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreement with Saudi Arabia and signed 34 agreements in the areas of information technology, genetics, mining, hydrogen energy and manufacturing. The Chinese delegation also agreed to set up an electric vehicle plant in Saudi Arabia.  

The Saudi leadership is also looking forward to moving away from the US after the frigid interaction between Joe Biden and the Crown Prince in July 2022. Despite being a US ally in the Middle East, the Kingdom’s growing proximity with China is a change in the US-Saudi relationship. 

PLA attacks Indian Army in Arunachal. On December 9, 300 Chinese soldiers attacked Indian Army in Arunachal. This face-off has led to minor injuries personnel from both sides. Both sides immediately disengaged from the area. After the incident, area commanders of both armies held a flag meeting to discuss the issue in accordance with structured mechanisms to restore peace and tranquility. There have been face-offs in the Yangtse area in the past. A major one being in October 2021. The Chinese had then attempted to gain access to the 17,000-foot-high peak that provides a commanding view of both sides of the LAC. India is in firm control of the top and its access routes. 

China is well aware that India is currently alone especially after the Ukraine war, where the Indian government chose to walk the fine independent diplomatic line in the nation’s interest rather than follow the US-led West. So, the West will have its own grudges with India, even as Russia may refuse to side with a “friend” (India) against its “brother” (China), and Pakistan is raring to open the second front against India! In the given scenario, clever Xi may be tempted to believe that a military action in the Himalayas would be a safer, more productive bet then to attempt Taiwan where the response from the US, Japan and Australia will be near immediate.

Pakistan Factor 

A new Taiwan-based study has concluded that Pakistan is the country most influenced by China out of 82 countries ranked as per varying degrees of dependence on China. Pakistan is followed by Cambodia and Singapore, while Central Asian nations Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan also figure in the top 10. The index focuses on nine domains to assess China’s sway around the world — academia, domestic politics, economy, foreign policy, military cooperation, law enforcement, media, society and technology.

Pakistan’s heavy reliance on China for financial support is no secret, according to an IMF report, about 30 per cent of Pakistan’s foreign debt is owed to China. The CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), has witnessed infrastructure projects worth billions of dollars being funded and built by Chinese companies over the past decade. China has been ‘rewarding’ it’s close ally by repeatedly blocking India-US proposals at the United Nations to proscribe Pakistan-based terrorists.

Pakistan factor puts a spanner in India’s goals. Russia, China, and Central Asian states recognise Pakistan’s role in counter-terrorism, which makes India’s positions at odds with that of others. So far, no country in Central Asia has taken a tough stance on Pakistan and the Taliban to have implications for India. For economic reasons, they are closer to Beijing.

China’s Blue Economy Inroads into the IOR to prevent India’s Influence. China’s strategy is to prevent India’s rise as an economic competitor and counter India’s strong influence in the Indian Ocean region where India-backed organisations like the Indian Ocean Rim Association, (IORA), which has a membership of 23 countries have taken strong roots. China is making new inroads into the Indian neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean nations through economic aid and infrastructural development.  

China has gradually enhanced its foothold in the Indian peninsula, gradually expanding its footprint in South East Asia and Central Asia there by strangulated India. Beijing wants to keep New Delhi occupied on the western border through Pakistan so that it can have its way along the Himalaya LAC.  India need to be wary of China’s aggressive designs along the Himalayas.

Patial RC

Patial RC is a retired Infantry officer of the Indian Army and possesses unique experience of serving in active CI Ops across the country and in Sri Lanka. Patial RC is a regular writer on military and travel matters in military professional journals. The veteran is a keen mountaineer and a trekker.

2 thoughts on “Ukraine-Russia War: China’s Opportunities – OpEd

  • December 14, 2022 at 4:45 am

    A holistic article with emphasis on China’s economic sphere of influence. For India immediate indulgence would be the Saudis link of China. The Russo – Ukraine conflict may not end soon as the Americans pump in more money and wpns as recently as a week ago. This has certainly helped China as explained by the author. will it really affect the Indo – Russo relationship is questionable. Today we need to differentiate between Chinese communism vis a vis Russia. with our MEA burning mid night oil may be able to balance with tight rope walk our US and Russia relations

  • December 26, 2022 at 3:50 am

    China has fully utilised the unending Russo- Ukraine war. Russia is bleeding white and China capitalised the momentary weakness of Russia to increase its economic interests in Russia as well as central Asian countries with its wealth.
    The G-20 Bali talks by China is a lip service with “QUAD” in mind. China understands the Indian Interest in blue waters of SCS and Indian Ocean. The name itself suggests the Indian interest in the “Indian”Ocean. Though China’s economic packages may woo the Central Asian countries: its success is questionable due to rigid characteristics of Islam. With the firm stand, military build up taken by India, China must be clear of Indian stand on disputed LAC. The latest diplomatic statement by China is an indication. But with the Dragon’s appetite for land grabbing we cannot really rely upon the statement. China do not follow any accepted International convention in it’s self interest. In the context of Ukraine war neither US nor Europe have shown serious reaction towards India. The growth of India and acceptance of Indian Rupee in trade is a positive sign. Saudis interest in Indian context (Aramco)is not reduced. The growing economic strength of India is now being recognised by the World community. Though Pakistan is dependent on China largely for its security & economic recovery getting together at the people level is questionable.
    In the above context the Indo – China relationship is a big riddle. The Dragon’s claws are not as sharp as it were towards India. China has capitalised its economic might flagrantly in the world comity. Economic & military self sufficiency is the only solution for India. we need to increase the Indian influence both economic,political and military in all the littoral countries of Indian Ocean region.

    The only way out for India is to nurture it’s own and world democracies, fine tune its diplomatic aplomb and multi lateralism to wean away the Indian Ocean countries from the Chinese lap.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *