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Moscow Recalculates Relations with Beijing

MK Bhadrakumar has a good commentary published in The Hindu on the rapidly changing relationship between Russia and China:

An influential Moscow commentator wrote: “For America, China is an obvious strategic rival … But growing economic dependence is causing these two rivals to tread cautiously and in a responsible manner. This is the kind of effect that we [Russia] should have pressed for in Russian-Chinese relations, because similar world views are a less substantive matter than factories or containers travelling across the oceans … The bottom line is: we will deepen political relations through the economy … The key objective of Russian policy now is the country’s innovative modernisation … The efforts that China is making to develop its own intellectual property base are tremendous, and in general the focus of global innovation is now shifting to Asia which, of course, includes China. Strategically, Russia has to draw new conclusions.” (…)

But the bedrock of the Russian-Chinese strategicpartnership is the sensitivity that each side shows to the other’s coreconcerns and vital interests. Russia has strongly supported China on theTaiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang issues and has shown its displeasure againstJapan. At a joint press conference with Mr. Medvedev, Chinese PresidentHu Jintao acknowledged this by saying “China and Russia will maintaininternational peace and stability and promote the overall recovery,health and stable development of the world economy.” Mr. Hu called for adeepening of the bilateral mechanism of “strategic securitynegotiations while supporting each other on issues concerning their coreinterests.”

Finally, their notions regarding”multipolarity” or “polycentrism” of the global system, a “democratised”world order or revamped international financial system, etc., trulyreflect the two countries’ long-term strategies. In sum, they havebecome acutely conscious of their shared interests. This is where thetrilateral format, RIC, has some catching up to do. The new thinking inNew Delhi creatively manifest on many fronts of foreign policy in therecent period should also pay attention to the raison d’etre of the RIC in the regional and international environment.