Daily The Hindu Editorials Notes – Mains Sure Shot (10/09/2019)
Question – How can Russia play an important role in India-China relations? Elaborate.(250 words)
Context – The Russia-India Summit on September 4-5
The present scenario:
- India-China-Russia are the three major players in the Eurasian region.
- The U.S.-China trade war is becoming worse and China is invigorating (i.e. strengthening its power and reach) its presence throughout the Asian continent to reduce American presence in the region.
- This might heavily disrupt the balance of power.
- In this scenario, the strategic triangle of India-China and Russia will have an important role to play.
India and Russia’s shared interests and concerns:
- With China’s growing clout, neither India nor Russia want to become hostage to China’s regional ambitions.
- India is becoming concerned about Russia’s growing dependence on China (we had already seen in a previous article about the principal formula that guides China-Russia relations), while Russia wants to avoid a conflict in India and China relations so that it can maintain good relations with both.
Trade relations between India and Russia:
- India-Russia trade has been consistently growing over the past two years. It grew by 22% in 2017 and 17% in 2018. It is further projected to touch $30 billion by 2025.
- Previously the trade relation between India and Russia was based on the asymmetrical matrix of India exporting raw materials to Russia and importing value-added products. But this relationship has now changed.
- Both India and Russia are holding trade talks and investing in technologies and businesses in each other’s countries.
- For example, A few years ago, Russia’s oil giant, Rosneft, invested $12.9 billion in India’s second largest private oil refiner, Essar Oil, marking one of the biggest foreign investments in years.
- Russia is also studying the feasibility of the Nagpur-Secunderabad High Speed Rail and the construction of major energy and transportation projects.
- Also, India is now the world’s fastest growing market for butyl rubber and halogenated butyl rubber due to its rapidly expanding car manufacturing industry which is pushing for electric vehicles. In February 2012, Sibur (Russian petrochemicals company) and Reliance Industries entered into a joint venture, setting up the Reliance Sibur Elastomers Private Limited in Jamnagar, Gujarat.
- Plus Sibur has agreed to share proprietary butyl rubber technology, staff training and access to the complex equipment of polymerisation reactors, which is unprecedented for a Russia company and this marks (shows/proves) a unique case of partnership between the two countries.
- Russia continues to serve as the largest arms supplier to India and just recently signed an agreement to carry payments through national currencies.
- The arms deal includes a $5-billion S-400 air-defence system, joint production of Kamov Ka-226T helicopters, four Admiral Grigorovich–class frigates and a joint venture in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh, producing 750,000 Kalashnikov AK-203 rifles. More deals are underway, including acquiring additional Su-30 MKI and about 21 MiG-29 fighters, as well as possible participation in the multi-billion ‘Project 75’ of the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force’s contract for 114 fighter jets.
The China factor- the role of Russia:
- If we look closely, China’s GDP is four times larger and defence spending almost three times bigger than that of India. Also, both the countries have prolonged territorial disputes that occasionally turn into border stand-offs. So tensions between India-China relations are always there.
- In this scenario Russia’s role is kind of an intermediary or a balancer because it has friendly relations with both India and China.
- As we saw in trade relations, Russia has made huge investments in India. So it will not want its trade to be disrupted due to any conflict between India and China. It will want peace to prevail because it cannot ignore India at the cost of China and vice versa.
- In 1971, India signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation with the Soviet Union to balance a China-U.S. rapprochement i.e. to balance its position and not come under the pressure of these two powers. So Russia even now thinks that India believes in diversifying its relations with countries and not be dependent on any one country as an ally. So it is not much apprehensive of India’s growing ties with the U.S. occasionally.
- Moscow played a key role in facilitating India’s membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which allegedly helped to dilute China’s dominance.
- It is important that both the countries understand their role and responsibility in the U.S.-China matrix and work closely with each other.
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