What connects and what separates today the two key members of Russia for BRICS, whom Yevgeny Primakov called fundamental participants of the future multipolar world along with Russia?
It's not about stories of their millennium relations, and about the present day, all the more important that the existence of mutual interests of New Delhi and Beijing, the main regional ally of India’s original enemy, Pakistan, does not exclude problems between them, including in South-East Asia and Indo-Chinese border.
Rajiv Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, made the first visit to the People’s Republic of China at the highest level. His successors expanded the relationship of the two countries. Narasimha Rao signed the “Agreement on the maintenance of peace and tranquility at the line of control along the Sino-Indian border”, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee - “Statement of Principles of Interaction”. In 2005, India and the People's Republic of China affixed signatures "Strategic cooperation for peace and prosperity." And on this basis, they began to rebuild bilateral relations, trying to avoid direct military clashes.
Economy and common tasks
The modern period is perhaps the most significant. He is tied to the personalities of the leaders of both countries. In particular, during the visit of Xi Jinping to India 17 – 19 September 2014, three memorandums of understanding and 12 important agreements were signed. Businessmen of the two countries have concluded agreements on 3,4 billion dollars. An agreement was reached to increase the exchange of goods to 100 billions of dollars by 2015 year.
China is currently India’s main trading partner. Their turnover in 2013 is 65,5 billion dollars (compared to 1 billion in 2001 – 2002). It is not in favor of India, the deficit is 40,8 billion, and its task is to level the trade balance, increase investment from the PRC. Beijing promised New Delhi to allow pharmaceutical products and computer technologies to enter its market. At the same time, China’s direct investment in India does not exceed 400 million dollars.
One of the foreign policy objectives of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to establish an effective economic dialogue with the PRC. During his visit in June 2015, he visited Xi'an, Beijing and Shanghai. It is characteristic that Xi'an is the birthplace of Xi Jinping and the center of Chinese-Indian trade in the era of the Tang dynasty. The Chairman of the CPC Central Committee first met the Indian Prime Minister not in Beijing, which emphasized their personal relationship. Modi visited joint educational centers at universities in the PRC (Tsinghua in Beijing and Fudan in Shanghai), and also registered with the Chinese social network Sina Weibo.
Modi publicly announced that "he wants to send political issues of territorial claims to the basket of history." Xi Jinping, in turn, expects that he can agree to the refusal to support Tibetan separatists - in response, Beijing is ready to show flexibility in resolving border disputes. As a result, Modi’s trip to the disputed territories in the Himalayas in China did not respond, although visits to all former Indian prime ministers there caused a harsh reaction from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The common tasks of India and China are the fight against organized crime and terrorist groups of the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO), which is close to Pakistan's Hizbut-Mujaheddin, and Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO), which is supported by Jamaat al-Islamia and Al “Qaida”, which interferes with the construction of a transport corridor (oil and gas pipeline, road and rail) from Myanmar to the capital of Yunnan - Kunming, which is part of the “Sea Silk Road” project.
It should be noted that Beijing intends to invest about 89 billion dollars in the New and Sea Silk Road, including allocating 40 billion to the transport infrastructure of Bangladesh, India and Myanmar. India, represented by Prime Minister Modi, associates with this the possibility of implementing long-standing plans to build a high-speed railway line New Delhi-Mumbai-Chennai-Calcutta.
Both countries are dependent on external supplies of oil and gas and need safe transportation routes. In addition, safe routes for the transportation of its products to the Asian and African markets are important for India. Cooperation with Beijing helps New Delhi in this, as China implements a number of infrastructure projects in these regions. Taking into account the Chinese experience, it is potentially possible to build a railway from India through the PRC to Russia with access to the economic space of the European Union, as well as to the countries of Central Asia. Alternative routes through Pakistan and Afghanistan are not very real.
Narendra Modi and Premier of the PRC Li Keqiang signed an agreement under which China invests 20 billions of dollars in India over five years, which is more than half the amount of China’s investments in Pakistan (45 billion dollars), but for India and these funds are important for development agriculture, food industry, IT-technologies. China and India in BRICS, the BASIC Group and G20 interact in a number of areas - the BRICS summit in Ufa reinforced and deepened this cooperation.
Contradictions and conflicts
At the same time, the contradictions between India and China are not resolved and have a long history. The diplomatic relations of India and the PRC, established in the middle of the twentieth century, have been unstable for decades due to the confrontation in the provinces of Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin. China has so far claimed 35 thousands of square miles of Arunachal Pradesh, and India considers 15 thousands of square miles of the Aksai Chin plateau in Jammu and Kashmir to be theirs. The border conflict of 1962 of the year and the improvement of Sino-Pakistani relations in the beginning of 70's led to the freezing of the relationship of Delhi and Beijing to 1976 of the year.
Currently, the conflict of interests persists in a number of areas: the territorial problem in the Himalayas, disagreements over transboundary water resources, the Tibetan issue and the visa regime have not yet been resolved. The population and influential groups of the Indian elite consider China to be the second after Pakistan to be a threat to the country. The clash of their interests goes in the Asia-Pacific region.
In particular, China considers the agreement between India and Vietnam on joint oil drilling in the Paracel Islands area illegal. India, which is strengthening military cooperation with Vietnam, has denied Beijing's claim to these territories. India, whose GNP is less than a quarter of China, cannot compete with China, avoiding collision with it, but Beijing’s expanding influence on Sri Lanka and the Maldives, plans for the development of the ocean fleet and the creation of the “Pearl Thread” - the PLA Navy base chain in the Indian Ocean is so worried about it that it can take a response.
China’s deployment of electronic intelligence stations in Bangladesh (three on the mainland and the same on the islands), the creation of a network of PLA Navy in the Indian Ocean and the conducted hydro-acoustic exploration of the Andaman Sea represent a potential threat to India. Its counterintelligence regularly records Chinese military instructors and engineers conducting intelligence activities in the region under the guise of fishermen at the naval bases of neighboring Myanmar.
New Delhi considers the threat of national security to regular visits by Chinese units to the state of Aksai Chin (in 2013 – 2014, they crossed the border five times) and their activities in Tibet. In response, India has increased the number of mountain units, developing a new tactic of action "helicopter-artillery-infantry." The center for training mountain rifle units (according to some specialists, the best in the world) helps to implement it, but the CH-47 helicopters and M-777 guns necessary for this need to be purchased from the US, and funding has been postponed due to a shortage of funds.
Negotiations on the settlement of territorial disputes and the demarcation of the border with a length of about 4000 kilometers have been going on for several decades. Especially conflicting is the highland plateau of Ladakh. So, in September 2014, directly during a visit to India by Xi Jinping, a Chinese military contingent from 500 to 1000 went deeper 30 kilometers into the adjacent territory disputed by Beijing. As a result, India received a reason for deploying a corps of mountain troops (up to 50 thousand people) on the border with the PRC and developing the necessary infrastructure there.
Among other things, New Delhi is worried about Beijing’s transfer of nuclear technology to Pakistan and the PRC’s approach to Iran’s nuclear program. Modi is trying to bring together the positions of India and China on these issues, maintaining a dialogue with Tehran and building it up with Islamabad. It is significant that the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the President of Iran participated in the Ufa summit of BRICS and the SCO along with the leaders of India and China.
The Problem of Tibet and the Dalai Lama
It should be noted that the leader of Buddhism, the Nobel Peace Prize winner 1989, Dalai Lama XIV, is one of the problems in the relations between India and China. Although in 2011, he retired from secular activities, leaving the post of head of the "Tibetan government in exile," his influence did not diminish. De facto, it’s about the status of Tibet. Although formally there was no problem with 2003: New Delhi recognized the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAP) as part of the PRC, and Beijing agreed to consider the former principality of Sikkim as a territory of India as a response gesture.
Recall that Tibet was occupied by the Chinese army in the 50-x. In March, 1959, an anti-Chinese uprising flared up there. Entering parts of the PLA in Tibet caused a wave of refugees to India, among whom was the Dalai Lama XIV, who settled in a historic monastery in Tawang. The number of Tibetan refugees in India is about one hundred thousand. Most of them, as well as the “parliament and government in exile” and the residence of the Dalai Lama XIV, are located in Dharamsala in the north of the country.
The Indian elite recognizes that the presence of Tibetan refugees in the country, their authorities and the spiritual leader creates problems for the country in relations with the PRC, however it is important as a lever of pressure and a counterbalance to Beijing’s Pakistani policy, although New Delhi hardly uses it. For example, in 2008, India guaranteed that Tibetan protests against the summer Olympics in the PRC capital would not go beyond acceptable limits. And yet, despite the position on the ownership of TAP to China, the “Tibetan problem” as such has not disappeared anywhere and may well be activated in the future, including by third countries (USA), where Dalai Lama XIV is popular. Beijing cannot ignore this.
Rapprochement with japan
Potential threats from the PRC to the current government of India levels, developing relations with Japan. This country, like Russia, is not mentioned in the “top priorities” of Indian foreign policy, but Modi was in Japan at 2007 and 2012, concluding cooperation agreements on behalf of the state of Gujarat (see “Elephant Move”). He was one of the first to congratulate S. Abe on his return to the post of prime minister of Japan. After his inauguration, the Indian leader declared that he had "an excellent experience working with Japan."
A landmark was Modi’s official visit to Japan in September of 2014, which confirmed the special character of Indo-Japanese relations. Then Modi criticized countries with an “expansionist type of thinking,” openly hinting at the policies of the PRC in the South China Sea. Official Tokyo has promised India 33,6 a billion dollars in loans and investments.
Business cooperation with Japan, according to Modi, helps strengthen its position in negotiations with China. But drawing closer to Beijing’s rivals in the Asia-Pacific Region because of their common danger of modernizing the PLA and expanding its presence in the Indian Ocean, India is not included in the anti-Chinese American-Japanese alliance. At the same time, it was not by chance that Japan, New Delhi, proposed to participate in the creation of the logistics and transport military infrastructure of his country in the mountainous region of Ladakh contested by the PRC.
Sea of disputes
South China Sea (South China Sea) - a strategic exit from the Indian to the Pacific Ocean. The volume of oil transit through it is three times higher than through the Suez Canal, and will double by the 2020 year. Shelf YuKM - a source of large hydrocarbon reserves. The sea became the zone of interest of the Navy of India in the 2000-s in accordance with the “Look to the East” course announced in 1991. It should be noted that Japan, South Korea and the ASEAN countries supported its intention to join the APEC and become a member of the UN Security Council. In 2010, at the ASEAN forum, India was among the 12 participants (from 27) who supported the United States position on a multilateral approach to resolving the dispute in the SCM.
China opposes these initiatives and negatively assessed India’s intention in 2011 to send a group of destroyers to the SCM. As a result of the controversy between Beijing and New Delhi on the positioning in the region, India has become a party to the dispute between Vietnam and China. The rivalry of the two powers over resources also arose in Myanmar, Central Asia and Latin America. If we talk about YUKM, 22 July 2011, the Indian ship "Erawat" in Vietnamese waters was stopped for inspection by Chinese boats. After 11 months, the incident was repeated with the Indian ship Shivalik. Responding to these unfriendly gestures, the Indian Foreign Minister in Hanoi in September 2011 announced the continuation of the Indian oil and gas company ONGC on the 127 and 128 blocks in the Nam Con Son. And in October 2011, India signed a repeat agreement with Vietnam.
The PRC in November of the same year responded with a request for Indian companies to obtain Beijing’s permission to develop the disputed areas, declaring 80 percent of UCM the territorial waters of China. India ignored this, although in May ONGC 2012 was withdrawn from the project at one of the sites mentioned, explaining that for economic reasons. However, in June, Vietnam extended the exploration period at another site and India agreed to this.
At the same time, the National Offshore Oil Company of China (CNOOC) initiated the provision of nine blocks for foreign intelligence in the waters of Vietnam, considering them to be Chinese. Beijing plans to extract from 2015 of the year billions of cubic meters of gas per year from the fields at YuKM 15. In addition, from 1 in January of 2013, China introduced new rules for the inspection of foreign ships in the waters of the SCM, which it considers its territory.
The most important
The concept of Primakov on the formation of a multipolar world is being realized before our eyes with the active participation of Russia. This world, the collective bodies of which will work without the dominance of Western institutions and even without their participation, does not mean that its members refuse to establish relations with the West (both India and China demonstrate this), or to automatically resolve their contradictions in the areas of intersection national interests. Although the emergence of international structures in which these contradictions can be discussed and, if possible, smoothed out without the usual use of them in their own interests by Brussels or Washington, is important.
The participation of India, China and Russia in BRICS and the SCO does not mean the emergence of a military or political alliance directed against the West. The common interests of these countries in the fight against Islamist terrorism on their own territory and in Central Asia do not mean confrontation with the organizers and sponsors of radical military-political movements: Riyadh, Doha, Ankara and Islamabad.
Pakistan is a strategic partner of China. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are of great importance in foreign trade for both India and the PRC. Turkey is Russia's largest partner in the Middle East. These ties persist despite the danger of Islamist terrorism for India, the PRC and the Russian Federation. However, the role of the curators of the organized terrorist world, played by their special services, military and political establishment, also does not interfere with the positioning of all these countries as allies and military-political partners of Washington.
It is obvious that cooperation by each of the participating States is regarded differently and the degree of their interest in the implementation of various areas is also different. Thus, all participants in this organization are interested in forming a bank and the BRICS development fund as a promising financial and investment instrument. At the same time, the formation of an inter-parliamentary assembly, promoted by Russia, has caused a negative reaction from India and a restrained interest in other countries, which is unlikely to allow the idea to be realized even in the medium term.
Russia in a multipolar world will not play the role of a superpower (not counting its nuclear potential) and will not become the largest pole of this world. Attempts to use it in the confrontation with the United States are doomed to failure. However, the strengthening of the positions of the PRC, India and other participants of the BRICS, the SCO, the Chinese project “Silk Road”, the Euro-Asian economic space due to the growth of trade turnover of participants, the removal of interstate barriers and the formation of a unified transport and energy infrastructure, which allows creating a giant common market is strategically important for Russia.
It can be stated that the relations of the two geopolitical giants - India and China, within whose borders almost half of the world's population live, are far from ideal, but go towards normalization much faster than before. The clash of their interests is not excluded, but direct military rivalry is hardly possible. At least New Delhi and Beijing seek to avoid it, including through increased cooperation.