Sunday, April 15, 2012

Russia, India, China : Emergence of a New Axis

BRICS has today turned into far more than a mere acronym. Among the member nations of this bloc; Russia, India and China are today considered crucial players in international matters. Thus when Foreign Ministers of India, S M Krishna and counterparts from China Yang Jiechi and Russian Sergei Lavrov held a trilateral meeting in Moscow, the global attention was obvious. International watchers say growing failure of the west, especially on the economic front and the mistakes in strategic issues, has gradually shifted focus on these three nations. Russia for reasons of its history, China for its emerging economic prowess and India for its strong democratic tradition and inherent economic resilience, today matter lot in global matters. The three nations during the foreign ministers’ conclave have rightly taken a common stand on a range of international issues, including North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, terrorism and regional security in Asia. The RIC nations voiced “regret” over North Korea's rocket launch but opposed new sanctions on Pyongyang while calling for restraint from other countries and the U.N. Security Council. “We do not believe in new sanctions — they will not help in any way to resolve the situation,” Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a joint press conference with his Indian and Chinese counterparts after their trilateral meeting. On his part, the Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna articulated New Delhi’s standpoint much eloquently. “India, Russia and China believe they have a major role to play in addressing global challenges,” quote unquote Krishna said in no unambiguous terms. This emphasis on global influence is significant as in the comity of nations, India has recently able to revive its prestige – akin to the good old days of the Non Aligned Movement. Making things further clearer, Indian External Affairs Minister underlined that the three nations will be carrying forward “new initiatives” in areas where they can share experience and can harness potential benefits. Endorsing similar sentiments, the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi also presented a roadmap wherein the three nations can cooperate in crucial areas like agriculture, business and science. In fact, the common view got better articulated in the form of a Joint Statement from the three ministers where in they dwelt at length on various topical global issues ranging from the situations in Iran, Afghanistan and climate change. The statement among other issues also rightly stressed the importance for the Asia-Pacific region to establish an open and transparent security and cooperation architecture responsive to the legitimate interests of every country in the region. The drafting of such a roadmap where in the three nations would work jointly on key global issues suggest that in time to come the RIC or even its bigger version, BRICS --- including two other members Brazil and South Africa would emerge a possible ‘game changer’ in the comity of nations. True, the vision, ambition and necessity are the three basic elements those essentially shape relations between countries. In this case, the three countries have good reasons to cooperate pursuing safe-guarding of mutual interests and benefits. India and Russia share a special and privileged partnership which has stood the test of time based on deep mutual trust. Russia and China too with their traditional one-upmanship had the share of convergence of views. With China despite skirmishes like boundary disputes and the recent spat in South China Sea, New Delhi has been banking heavily on ‘cooperative partnership’. Thus all the three countries find partners in each other. Therefore, the very fact that they have agreed to play constructive roles in international and more importantly regional affairs, during their trilateral talks make it a more forward moving affair. In this context, mention ought to be made about the hour-long meeting on the sidelines of the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral conference between India External Affairs Minister Krishna and his Chinese counterpart. And very rightly, both the leaders stressed the need for an early meeting on the Maritime Dialogue to smooth out rough spots over South China Sea. Therefore, on this backdrop, it is relevant to observe that New Delhi, Moscow and Beijing ought to work together more closely in deepening and widening the canvass of engagement. This partnership – strategic and economic – would be ideally suited model for development cooperation India has been undertaking in the recent past. In the ultimate analysis, it would be only relevant to suggest that in years to come, the RIC nations would have deeper impact globally both in strategic realm and on economic front. Thus, the Asia Pacific region will emerge as the new ‘pole’ of major global activities. (ends)