Adam Ash

Your daily entertainment scout. Whatever is happening out there, you'll find the best writing about it in here.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A new international alliance: India, China and Russia

Bizarre Love Triangle
India, China and Russia have a responsibility beyond their own borders
From The Times UK

For decades a powerful trio remained separated by political rivalries, border disputes and atavistic fears. But the meeting in Delhi yesterday of the foreign ministers of India, China and Russia underlined the extraordinary changes forging a powerful new geostrategic alliance. Together with Russia’s 143 million people, the world’s two most populous nations, each with more than a billion, account for about 40 per cent of the world’s population, a fifth of the global economy and more than half its nuclear warheads. The three are fast emerging as the world’s new great powers, dominating global manufacturing, energy supplies and, increasingly, the service sector. And as their societies grow richer and their global reach longer, their interest in asserting their collective economic and political strength becomes ever greater.

The three ministers insisted in their com-muniqué that they are strongly committed to “multilateral diplomacy” and that their new grouping was not directed against “the interests of any other country”. This comes as close as diplomatic language allows to telling Washington that this is not a new antiAmerican alliance. For indeed, India, especially, values its burgeoning relationship with the US, which has already yielded an unprecedented agreement on nuclear cooperation and bolsters the role of Indian technology. China, too, has a vital interest in allaying Washington’s concerns about its economic emergence and its political intentions. Only Russia under President Putin seems to be relapsing into crude antiAmericanism, publicly berating the Bush Administration over Iraq, Iran and US missile defences — though he, too, needs to sell Russian energy in the West and ease the tension that he has recently exacerbated.

Yet for all their public emollience, the underlying message to Washington is clear: the three countries are challenging America’s status as the sole superpower, and want to build a “multipolar” world. This was reinforced by their emphasis on strengthening the United Nations, feeble as it is. India, China and Russia have far more in common with the US than they are generally prepared to concede, including their concerns about Islamic extremism, which will become an increasingly pressing issue for all three.

The departure from the past, however, is their determination to surmount bilateral divisions. India and Russia have, since Soviet days, had warm relations — recently reinforced by President Putin’s visit and booming arms sales. But China has not been close to either. Border disputes soured relations with India in 1962 and with the Soviet Union in 1969. China’s trade with the two remains below its potential (though rising fast with India). And Russia has long been focused more on the West than on Asia, though it is now exploiting the demand for its energy from both India and China.

Washington should look with equanimity on this rapprochement. China and India have no intention of sacrificing links with America. Both may act as a moderating force on what seems to be the paranoid resentment coming from Moscow. Both can provide a stable framework for the rapid advance of the Asian region. And all three have a vital interest in securing a predictable trading environment, to enrich their impatient, populous and demanding audiences at home.


Post a Comment

<< Home