Russia role in India-China relations – UPSC GS2

Context: During 21st India-Russia summit, Russia ensured to hold a trilateral summit of the leaders of Russia, India and China (RIC) in the near future.
What are the challenges in the holding RIC meeting?
Earlier, the RIC Summit occurred on the side lines of the Osaka G-20 summit in 2019.  Much has changed since then:
  • China’s aggression at the Line of Actual Control: It dented the hopes of peaceful coexistence and growth.
  • No face to face meeting between Indian and Chinese leaders since 2019: Due to issues in LAC, they have not spoken directly, even though they attended the same multilateral summits (BRICS, SCO, G-20, etc.).
  • The summit will not take place until the promises made by the Chinese Foreign Minister in meetings with the External Affairs Minister are fulfilled.
Why Russia’s role as an honest broker of India-China talks must be scrutinised?
Even though India bought S-400 missile defence systems and improved its relations with Russia, the Russian role as a facilitator needs closer attention. This is because:
  • Russia and China have consolidated their support for each other in the face of U.S. concerns over Russian action against Ukraine and Chinese action on Taiwan.
  • Russia is deeply dependent on Chinese investment.
  • On Afghanistan talks, Russia has shown that it was prepared to cut India out of negotiations held by the Troika plus group with the U.S., China and Pakistan.
What India needs to do?
  • India must continue to balance its relations between Russia and the US, and its partners in Eurasia versus those in the Indo-Pacific.
  • India has to follow an independent path in foreign policy.

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