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Indra: India-Russia Joint Naval Exercise Echo

US-India-Russia Stifle China in the Straits of Malacca

 

Donald Trump on 30 May announced the postponement of the Group of Seven (G7) summit, saying that he wanted to hold it in June. Trump said he would expand the list of countries invited to attend the meeting to include India, Australia, Russia and South Korea. “I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world,” Trump said.

Given PM Modi’s growing closeness to Trump Administration, US president was talked into considering India’s take on the link between Central Asia and Indo-Pacific. President Trump, while talking to reporters on Air Force One during his return to Washington DC from Cape Canaveral in Florida. He said that the G7 in its current format was a “very outdated group of countries”.

On several previous occasions, he had suggested Russia be added because of Moscow’s “global strategic importance”. White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said Trump wanted the countries to discuss China at the summit. Reports say, PM Modi has worked for three years, to effect this strategic shift of the US, for Russia.

With elections around, and the manner in which Democrats have had attacked President Trump, latter does not wants to take any chances, except extending visible feelers of what is about to enfold in next two years.

Hence, offer refusal by Russia was accepted, which Chine proclaimed as a victory of sorts, especially the way Naval snooze is quietly tightening around its neck in Indo-Pacific.

‘Shut Up’ served to China on BRI

By Russia led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)

What started with Russia’s invitation for India, to link up with Eurasian Economic Union in January 2020 this year, which was a slap enough to China and her BRI grandeur.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed by Russia, that China has been making vast investments in the region, thus strengthening Beijing’s economic influence and setting the stage for Chinese political influence to grow. At the cost of Russia?

Interesting figures, China’s export-import bank provided US$1.5 billion in loans to Tajikistan, accounting for 52 percent of Dushanbe’s foreign debt. Other investments include US$20 billion in Kazakhstan (compared to US$14 billion by Russia) and US$245.6 million in Kyrgyzstan (US$124 million by Russia).

Rival of my Rival is a Partner was an obvious analysis on this middle ground reached by Russia and China. But Chinese insistence on Debt Trapping Russia’s backyard, as well as pitting those countries internal fissures against them(the manner in which China openly backed Rohingya Terrorists against Myanmar, to achieve favourable debt terms), was taken furiously by Russia, perceived as an intent to undermine Russia.

Chinese workers were resisted, and Sino-superiority attitude was met with increasing resistance by the Central Asian Countries.

Protest against China in Tajikistan

Here is how a departmental director of the Baker Hughes company describes the modus operandi of the Chinese managers in the Kazakh oil business: “They typically buy a medium-sized oil field, something productive and valuable, but “under the radar.” According to Arnaly, the Chinese then bring in their own workers, their own suppliers, and their own equipment. They do not hire very many local staff or subcontractors and show no interest in developing the professional skills or capacity of local staff. They also do not share information about operations, even with their own staff and subcontractors. Arnaly said CNPC’s projects are tightly controlled by Chinese management and are run “almost like military

Consequently, Russia’s co-option of India into the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF), at a high level of participation in September 2019 and the range of agreements involved, indicated Russia’s resolve to have an North-South (Russia-India) tactical pincer of Eurasia’s blockade, to China from the East.

Russian bear was alarmed when in March 2016, Fang Fenghu, the chief of the PLA’s General Staff paid a visit to Tajikistan and Afghanistan, to discuss military-to-military ties. This came after China had adopted an anti-terrorism law in 2015 that allows the PLA to operate abroad with Military Bases in Russian doorstep, just like in the manner of the US, to support its interests and colonization of the Central Asia.

Allergic reaction in Russia, that a stronger Chinese military presence triggered and are therefore were very reluctant to invite the foxy, unreliable CPC’s PLA soldiers into the country, using pretext of protection of Chinese financed infrastructure projects in Central Asia, was something Chinese Communists were thinking, of taking the Russian bear for a ride.

Promptly, Central Asia saw multitudes of demonstrations and scuffles with BRI Chinese workers, with the locals. Many countries renegotiated the BRI loan agreements, and many are in process of doing so, backed by Russia.

Chinese were unwelcome, was the message given blatantly to China by Russia, who also went ahead for its Missile defence sale to countries as well as beefing up the military bases in these regions.

In a contrast, Moscow pledged to expand military-technical cooperation with New Delhi following the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok last year, when Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with his Indian counterpart Jaishankar.

Chinese military, for the present, is banned in Central Asia, as Russia stone walls Chinese PLA beyond Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan whereas foundation has been laid, on India’s role in Central Asia, as a Pincer to China’s forays in the region.

Russian Silence on China’s appeal in South China Seas and Ladakh

President Putin has been silent on claims of China n South China Seas, mostly supporting Vietnam and Philippines on their rights in regions and continuing to support them.

Last year, Moscow-based energy company Rosneft kept going on to conduct oil and gas exploration in waters the Philippines claims, in the South China Sea. The offer was reassured by the Russian ambassador to the Philippines, Igor Khovaev, who invited Philippine companies to also ‘explore oil and gas in Russia together with Russian companies’.

Similarly, since beginning of Ladakh conflict, which has been artificially created by China, to express strength in its dwindling popularity of CPC back home, due to unemployment, lack of democratic life for Chinese citizens and its fickle-megalomaniac behaviour on international platform, Russia has practically ignored China and has been on urgent footing to ramp up military-strategic war-stockpiling of India.

This has been resoundingly evident, when Russia refused to supply missiles to its S-400 defence system, slated to be used and hence now rendered useless, for use against India and its Sukhois and Migs.

Naval Exercise Indra in September 2020

Indo-Russian two decades of explicit coordination in the Indian Ocean

“Vietnam’s state-owned energy company PetroVietnam has been forced to pay the money to Repsol of Spain and Mubadala of the United Arab Emirates in ‘termination’ and ‘compensation’ arrangements” recently, however Russia, India and the US have assured that the same shall be supported by their Navy.

In July, Indian and the US navies conducted a joint exercise in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, not so far from Straits of Malacca, in a strong strategic message to China amid confrontation in eastern Ladakh.

The Indian Navy aims, “The Passage Exercise near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands involved the United States’ Carrier Strike Group (CSG) led by aircraft carrier Nimitz and units of Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet and Andaman and Nicobar Command.”

The CSG recently concluded its operational deployment along with another aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the South China Sea and had crossed the Strait of Malacca on Saturday to pass through the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

Just a month later, India and Russia are together, as since in last two decades, with similar freedom of passage exercise in the same regions, against China.

Viewpoint

China has a track record of financing ‘white elephants’, which in turn become opportunities for graft. Chinese banks have reportedly not paid much attention to questions of debt sustainability, and China Development Bank as well as Exim Bank.

Chinese state finances projects in cash-strapped economies which the recipient governments are unlikely to be able to repay, thus creating a debt spiral in which political dependency on China grows as a consequence. This dependency is expected to translate into sympathy with the ‘One China’ policy, an alignment on Chinese positions on the Uyghurs, Taiwan relations, or the status of Tibet. That is unacceptable to Russia in Central Asia as well as to India in South East Asia.

Russia, has been continuing its Oil exploration at the behest of Vietnam, and duly supported by presence of India’s warships in South China Sea. This angle has been very explicit and a game changer in India’s reach in world geo-politics.

Chinese increasing belligerence in South China Sea and Ladakh, sees US led international maritime exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020, which  concluded on August 31, following two weeks of at-sea-only training events conducted around the Hawaiian Islands.

While this exercise saw forces from Australia, Brunei, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, coordinating not very east from South China Seas, India and Russia are having similar exercises in the Straits of Malacca sealing off South China Sea from the South, to China.

While the US and Russia cannot come together officially, due to decades of mistrust, India has done extremely well, a one good for the world too, to get Russia closer to European markets(bid to invite to G7) as well as get Russia and the US both to Indian Ocean.

Undeniably, India counterbalances and seals off China in the south of Eurasia, a need for Russia to contain Chinese scrounge and strong arm tactics against Russia in Central Asia. While India also is insisting on Russian presence in the Indian Ocean, as its strategic partner, while being key member of US led Quad in Indo-Pacific is no only a game changer, but also a security necessity for the world, to protect against China.

It all fits well, as we felt so in Jun 2020 article, when Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh visits Iran again yesterday, spinning another legendry spin in the tale of Indian subtle diplomacy, but hadn’t we predicted the same couple of months back! India-Iran unchallengeable strategic partnership!

06 Sep 2020/Sunday                                                                      Written by: Fayaz

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