Rebalance Of Power


  • The Chinese President’s state visit to Russia is of greater significance as China is hoping to deliver a breakthrough on Ukraine as China seeks to position itself as a peacemaker.



Chinese President’s visit:

  • It carried forward the promise of the “no-limits partnership” and “no forbidden areas of cooperation”,
  • Sino-Russian Joint Statement issued during the Russian President’s visit for the Winter Olympics.


The Ukraine war has not diminished Chinese commitment to partnership with Russia because:

  • China is convinced that the United States and its allies are determined to contain it.
    • National People’s Congress, Xi Jinping said: “Western countries led by the US have implemented all round containment and suppression of China, which has brought unprecedented severe challenges to the country’s development.”
  • The Chinese President conveyed that: “An all encompassing partnership and strategic interaction in a world threatened by acts of hegemony, despotism and bullying”.
  • Both sides continue to believe that despite their current dominance, the US and the West in general are in terminal decline.
  • The balance of power is changing, according to them, in their favor and the change could be hastened if China and Russia were to team up.


Joint statement:

  • Beyond bilateral relationship: “They shared the view that this relationship has gone far beyond the bilateral scope and acquired critical importance for the global landscape and the future of humanity.”


What does it ascertain?

  • China could hardly pursue a mediatory role between Ukraine and Russia as had been expected by some analysts.
  • China is no longer a neutral party in the Ukraine crisis.
    • It is firmly in Russia’s corner.
  • It also gives China much greater leverage over Russia and on the latter’s capacity to pursue independent relations with other states such as India.
  • China now has the capacity to limit Russian engagement with India, including in defense.
    • This must now enter our own foreign policy and security calculations.
  • China has been able to structure a significantly advantageous economic and energy partnership with Russia.


China-Russia Partnership:

  • China’s import of Russian oil has gone up by 8 percent but of natural gas by 50 percent.
  • A new pipeline is being planned from the Russian Arctic gas field of Yamal to China through Mongolia.
    • This will be the second long-distance gas pipeline,
  • The Power of Siberia 2”, bringing gas supplies to China overland.


How will this unequal partnership affect the relative influence of Russia and China?

  • China is convening a summit of Central Asian leaders from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan in May this year.
    • It is increasingly projecting itself as a security guarantor for these countries.
    • These countries look upon Russia, particularly after its invasion of Ukraine, as their main security preoccupation.
  • Chinese influence in Central Asia will expand and Russia will have to accept its own diminished role.
    • This may marginalize even the limited presence India has in the region.


Way Forward

  • The long-term effort of China has been to diversify its energy supplies away from the strategically vulnerable maritime route to the more secure landward supply routes from Russia and Central Asia.
  • Chinese energy security is enhanced through a long-term energy partnership with Russia and this is also an important driver of the strategic partnership.
  • An unprecedented close partnership with Russia, any defeat of Russia in the war would be a major setback to China.
    • The Chinese may change its policy over supply of weapons to Russia in case the latter is facing imminent defeat.
  • China is doing all it can to help Russia through the supply of dual use items and drones and strategic items such as semiconductors.
    • Its relative restraint may also be influenced by US policies towards Taiwan.
  • Link between Ukraine and Taiwan: The US is accusing China of supplying arms to Russia, it is engaged in supplying lethal weapons to Taiwan, which would be used against China.
  • Latest foreign policy strategy document: Russia has described China and India as its two allies.
    • In the case of India, this may be more a case of wishful thinking.



Critically examine the aims and objectives of SCO. what importance does it hold for India.(UPSC 2021) (200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)

Source: Indian Express

  • Prelims: Current events of international importance(BRI, Regional forums, Sino-Russian relations, G20, SCO etc
  • Mains GS Paper II: Bilateral, regional and global grouping involving India or affecting India’s interests, BRI and issues associated with it etc
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