Thursday, April 19, 2012

India, Russia and China - how cozy is this threesome?

Today India successfully test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 5,000 kilometers (approx 3,125 miles), far enough to reach Beijing, most of Russia and some of Eastern Europe.
The launch is certainly one more indication of a growing arms race in Asia, what with India surpassing China recently in arms imports (because China is making more of its own weapons), China boosting its military spending by 11% (perhaps to fund making those weapons), North Korea's failed rocket launch attempt, and South Korea's announcement today that it has a missile capable of hitting Pyongyang.  Things are getting a little spicier in the region.

The West is tending toward a more alarmist view of the growing arms race between China and India.  Graeme Herd, head of the international security program at the Geneva Center for Security Policy, was quoted today in the New York Times as saying "All of this, from the Chinese perspective, looks like a movement from balancing China to containing China."  

Well, that may be, from a Westerner's perspective of what China thinks, but in this case let's let the nations in question speak for themselves.  China does not seem terribly surprised nor uneasy about India's missile testing.  The Chinese Foreign Ministry stated the two countries are partners, not competitors, and CCTV questioned the accuracy of the targeting system, noting the missile does not really pose a threat.  Nor does Russia, where the news made headlines on English-language newspapers, but the tone of the articles were neutral.  Why are these nations not freaking out?

They aren't freaking out because they are building a coalition among themselves.  Last week, the foreign ministers from Russia, China and India held their annual meeting to discuss world events and presumably their roles in them, for the 11th time.  The three nations issued a joint announcement following the meeting, which highlighted several areas of cooperation.  They stressed the importance of the UN as a central coordinating role for maintaining peace and security, but also called (again) for its reform, with China and Russia supporting India's aspirations for a greater role.  The Ministers of China and India welcomed Russia's accession to the WTO.  They reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism, presumably addressed to Pakistan's support of the Taliban.  They also congratulated themselves for the successful BRICS meeting held a couple weeks earlier.  

Perhaps the most interesting phrase from the document, however, is this: "The Ministers recognized that the world was undergoing profound changes, and the global trend towards multipolarity was irreversible."  This is a clear indication of their consideration of their growing roles, individually and as a coalition. This is certainly a strengthening relationship to monitor.

1 comment:

laldo said...

china,india # russia can be super horse power if it has dominate the world,rather than infighting?