Russia – China Summit

Russia – China Summit

Context: Recently, President Vladimir Putin arrived in Beijing for a two-day state visit. During this visit, he met with President Xi Jinping at the historic Great Hall of the People, the seat of power of the Chinese Communist Party. During the visit, a joint statement on deepening the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era was signed and issued by both leaders. A pledge was made by both to deepen their strategic partnership. This visit marked Putin’s first international trip since the start of his fifth presidential term.

China – Russia Friendship:

Historical Background

• Early Relationship: The relationship between China and the Soviet Union had a rocky start. When Chairman Mao Zedong visited Moscow after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, he was made to wait for weeks for a meeting with Joseph Stalin.

• Cold War Rivalry: During the Cold War, China and the USSR were rivals, competing for control of the global communist movement. Tensions escalated in the early 1960s, culminating in a brief border war in 1969.

• Post-Mao Era: The relationship began to improve after Mao\'s death in 1976 but remained frosty until the collapse of the Soviet
Union in 1991.

• Post-Cold War Relations: In the post-Cold War era, economic relations have become the new strategic basis for Sino-Russian relations. China became Russia’s biggest trading partner and the largest Asian investor in Russia. China views Russia as a powerhouse of raw materials and a valuable market for its consumer goods.

• Western Hostility: The hostile approach of Western countries, led by the USA, towards Russia after the annexation of Crimea in 2014 brought Moscow closer to Beijing.

Nature of the Relationship

• Statements from Leaders: According to the leaders of both countries, the relations between China and Russia are not opportunistic and are not directed against anyone. President Xi has described the China-Russia friendship as everlasting and a model for a new type of international relations.

• Western Perspective: A White House spokesperson characterized the China-Russia relationship as a marriage of convenience.

Relationship Against the Backdrop of the Ukraine War

• Strategic Partnership: China and Russia signed a no-limits strategic partnership just days before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

• Chinese Role: The Chinese role in the war has been a major concern for the West, led by the United States. The US believes China is supplying technology that Russia is using to build missiles, tanks, and other battlefield weapons.

• Increased Imports: Russian imports of machine tools, computer chips, and other dual-use items from China have increased significantly. The sales of Chinese logistics equipment like lorries (for transporting troops) and excavators (for digging trenches) to Russia have increased by four to seven times since the war began.

Concerns for India

• Defence Supplies: For New Delhi, the Russia-China defence axis raises critical questions. About 60-70% of Indian defence supplies come from Russia, making regular and reliable supplies crucial, especially amid the ongoing standoff between Indian and Chinese soldiers at the border.

• Dependence on Russia: Experts in India worry about a scenario where Russia becomes a \'junior partner\' of China. This concern is heightened by the historical context:
- During the 1962 war, the Soviet Union did not support India.
- In contrast, Moscow backed India during the 1971 war.

• Uncertain Future: Today’s Russia under Vladimir Putin is different from the old Soviet Union, and its stance might vary in the event of a conflict between India and China. 


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