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OpinionsXI-PUTIN PACT AIMS TO CONTROL THE US HEGEMONY MORE THAN UKRAINE CONFLICT

XI-PUTIN PACT AIMS TO CONTROL THE US HEGEMONY MORE THAN UKRAINE CONFLICT

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By Nantoo Banerjee

Contrary to the wide publicity that the latest X-Putin agreement will push for “a comprehensive, sustainable and just settlement” of the Ukraine-Russia conflict through peaceful means, the document throws little light on how to solve the situation within a possible timeframe. China merely talks about a dialogue on a peaceful Ukraine war settlement which it initiated last year without any specific agenda. Instead, the agreement clearly focuses on building a strong China-Russia partnership. The defence cooperation between the two countries is aimed to thwart any possible threat to Russia by the US-led NATO by indulging in direct military action. The ongoing war has considerably destroyed Ukraine's and social infrastructure. Ukraine alone is not in a position to take on mighty Russia militarily merely with defence supplies from the US, UK and other NATO members. It is a matter of time before Ukraine surrenders. China is believed to have agreed to stand by Russia in case of a direct NATO attack on Moscow. In exchange, Russia will support China's growing hegemony in the Pacific region, including physical annexation of Taiwan.

So far, the biggest beneficiary of the Ukraine war is the US arms manufacturing industry. Last month, the US Senate passed $95 billion in war aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. Of the sanctioned US war assistance, $61 billion is meant for Ukraine, $26 billion for Israel, including humanitarian relief to citizens of Gaza, and $8 billion to counter Chinese threats in Taiwan and Indo-Pacific. The US war aid clearly targets Russia and China. The Xi-Putin agreement is intended to build a joint front to take on the US in case of the latter's direct involvement challenging Russia in Ukraine and China in Taiwan. The US has already started the process of sending weapons to Ukraine which is struggling to hold its front lines against ceaseless Russian attacks. There is no sign of peace prevailing in Ukraine anytime soon. A Ukraine surrender would mean a US retreat, which is difficult for the American superpower to digest. The new Sino-Russian defence alliance makes the situation more complicated. Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin pledged a “new era” of partnership while singling out the US for criticism.

The Xi-Putin joint statement said: “The US still thinks in terms of the cold war and is guided by the logic of bloc confrontation, putting the security of ‘narrow groups' above regional security and stability, which creates a security threat for all countries in the region. The US must abandon this “behaviour.” The statement condemned initiatives to seize assets and property of foreign states. This is in clear reference to the US-led NATO moves to redirect profits frozen from Russian assets as well as the assets themselves to help Ukraine. The two leaders had cast the US as an aggressive cold war hegemony brewing chaos across the . On resolution of the Ukraine crisis, they merely agreed on a political settlement while opposing a drawn out conflict. Such an initiative calls for a give-and-take solution which cannot be worked out until the two sides agree to sit on a negotiation table. The question is: will the US allow Ukraine to initiate or respond to such a step?

At this stage, China's military backing may be crucial to Russia as President Putin intensifies the Russian offensive in Ukraine. Xi Jinping has other priorities as China is expanding its trade and military influence across the world in competition with the US. The agreement makes Beijing an equal partner of Moscow. China has already emerged as the top buyer of Russian crude oil. It is also the biggest exporter of goods and services to Russia. The Ukraine war has made Russia highly dependent on China, with which the former Soviet Union once came to the brink of war in 1969 over a border dispute. China is now the world's third largest military and nuclear power after the US and Russia. A military alliance with Russia will make the China-Russia combine by far the most lethal defence power. The combined military personnel with Russia and China will be three times more than the estimated US strength of over 1.27 million.

Paradoxically, the new China-Russia defence agreement poses significant strategic concerns for , traditionally a major buyer of defence equipment from Russia. A significant portion of India's military arsenal, equipment and parts comes from Russia. China too is a large importer of Russian weapons. India's growing border tension with China creates a complex geopolitical situation. The Beijing-Moscow military partnership challenges India's strategic positioning and raises questions about its future defence and diplomatic dynamics. The growing Russian political, economic and military tie-ups with China is definitely bad news for India. This is bound to push India away from Russia to become closer to the west.

In a way, the China-Russia strategic alliance directed against the US and NATO members impinges on India's geopolitical trajectory, presenting difficult dilemmas for India, a member of Eurasia's key security outfit, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). India is also a member of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, commonly known as Quad, combining Australia, Japan and the US as the other three partners. Quad aims at aligning with the Pacific Islands Forum with priorities, including the 2050 strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and strengthening cooperation with partners in the Indian Ocean region, including Indian Ocean Rim Association, to address the region's more pressing challenges. The Sino-Russian defence and strategic partnership will force India to perform a difficult balancing act between Eurasia and Indo-Pacific, recalibrating its diplomatic and strategic priorities. (IPA Service)

Northlines
Northlines
The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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