India, Russia, China and the USA in Asia and Afghanistan

India, Russia, China and the USA in Asia and Afghanistan

India´s attendance of the East Economic Forum in Russia, his meeting with  Putin. talk about the possible inclusion of Russia in the Indo-Pacific and strengthening of Indo-Russian ties  as well as Modi´s US visit with Trump on stage of the meeting hall seems to cause uneasyness in China. This can be seen in numerous articles in the Global Tiomes as:

India-Russia ties rest on strategic calculations(…)

The advance of India-Russia ties will push the multi-polarization of international relations and reinforce India’s role in Asia. It will also add the leverage of Russia to counter Western pressures on diplomacy and security, empower Russia to effectively resist Western countries‘ strategic blockade and defend its strategic and economic interests in South Asia. 

However, stronger Russia-India ties, especially their military-technical cooperation, would have a negative impact on China’s national security. Consolidating and developing ties with Russia implies India’s strategic intention to contain China’s rise. It would pile more geopolitical pressure on China and increase the instability in China’s periphery. 

The author is a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

Unlike Australia, India treads softly on ties with US(…)

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/19 0:34:02

US President Donald Trump will travel to Texas on Sunday to attend an event with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi culminating in their third meeting. Later the same day, Trump will join a tour in Ohio with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Why does the US attach importance to advancing relations with India and Australia? Is it indicative of efforts by the superpower to reinforce its Indo-Pacific strategy?(…)

Washington does want to consolidate its Indo-Pacific strategy, but is encountering difficulties. As a US ally, Australia lacks diplomatic independence and tends to rely on the US. In this context, Canberra has proactively responded to Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy. However, India is different. On one hand, New Delhi wants to utilize Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy to restrain China; on the other, this South Asian country hopes to maintain its status as an independent power. Therefore, India will not throw itself into US arms like Australia did.

Furthermore, Canberra is concerned with India’s pursuit of hegemony in the Indian Ocean region. The divergence between India and Australia may add the difficulties for the US to consolidate its Indo-Pacific strategy.

Australia has been a close ally of the US and there is not much room for further development. But there seems a lot to do with India, which is following a balanced strategy and having frequent interactions with great powers such as China, Russia and the US. To reinforce its Indo-Pacific strategy, Washington will make efforts to achieve more solid ties with India.

Balance of power’ a strategic trap for India

By Ding Gang Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/11 18:53:41

New Delhi is strengthening its cooperation with its neighbors, and it has thus developed the Look East policy. China’s cooperation with neighboring countries, including India, has also seen unprecedented strengthening. Amid such changes, there is no foundation for the outdated balance of power theory. No force is able to stop the Chinese economy from developing. China’s rising strength will certainly change the structure of the Asia-Pacific region, and cannot be balanced by either outside forces or military powers. Regional countries need to build a new order. 

Balancing China will jeopardize India’s own interests. Since China’s development is unstoppable and is in line with the general development of the region, carrying out containment against China is highly likely to lead to the loss of opportunities for cooperation with China. 

India should think this through. It is impossible for regional countries to jointly contain China’s rise with the US while strengthening cooperation with China at the same time. Such a strategy might work at the very beginning, but at critical moments, relevant parties will have to make a choice. 

The strategy of the balance of power is generated from the diplomacy of Western countries. It reflects Western countries‘ understanding of foreign relations in the process of their expansion in the past. In today’s globalized world, Asian countries are supposed to have better choices. This is a test for not only for India, but also China. Both need work together to walk out of this strategic trap.

The author is a senior editor with People’s Daily, and currently a senior fellow with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. Follow him on Twitter @dinggangchina

Trump joins India’s Modi at Houston rally amid tensions in India-controlled Kashmir

Source:Xinhua Published: 2019/9/23 11:16:36

After Trump cancelled the peace talks with the Taliban, Russia and China try to fill the gap. Since 2018 Russia has a Afghan peace talk format including representatives of the Taliban under Russian mediator Kabulow. The Diplomat and Foreign policy however think that Russia while promoting a return to peace talks between the USA and the Taliban, has its own agenda and can´t be seen as a neutral mediator or partner in Afghanistan, but as a rival. Russia would steer up antiamerican feelings and support antiamerican former president Karzai and other political groups against the US and India supported Afghan goverment of Ghani, wanted to counter US air bases in Bagram and Shindad which could be used against Russia, Iran and Pakistan and create its own spere of influence in Afghanistan together with China and Pakistan.

In the Demise of the Taliban Peace Talks, Russia Is the Winner

Even as it paints itself as an ally in Afghanistan, the Kremlin is busy undercutting Washington.

By Samuel Ramani

| September 11, 2019, 11:13 AM

Although the de-escalation of tensions between the United States and Russia, which had risen last year due to Moscow’s alleged arms transfers to the Taliban, is a positive development, Russia should not be trusted as a partner in Afghanistan. The collapse of the U.S.-Taliban peace talks provides an opening for Russia to reassert its diplomatic presence in the country, and this prospect should concern U.S. policymakers. Russia’s subversion of the authority of Afghanistan’s internationally recognized government and propagation of disinformation about U.S. intentions in Afghanistan reveal that Moscow remains a dangerous adversary in the region.(…)

Russia’s Expanded Arbitration Ambitions in Afghanistan

Although Russia has spearheaded numerous multilateral diplomatic initiatives on Afghanistan since late 2016, Moscow has insisted that its involvement in peace negotiations is motivated by national security concerns, rather than aspirations for diplomatic influence. Andrey Kortunov, the Director-General of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), told me in January that Russia does not have any particular interest in “filling the vacuum in Afghanistan,” and that Moscow perceives the country as “more of a challenge than an opportunity.” Kortunov also argued that Russia’s most important task is to “prevent Afghanistan from turning into a foothold for international extremists and terrorists,” and Moscow’s engagement in multilateral peace talks helped facilitate these goals.  

While national security considerations remain of critical importance to Russia, recent developments suggest that Moscow is seeking to exert greater influence over the Afghan peace process. Over the past year, Russia has participated in trilateral summits with the United States and China on ending the war in Afghanistan, allowing Moscow to exert influence over discussions on a withdrawal of U.S. troops. As the United States stood on the precipice of a historic deal with the Taliban, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated that Russia was ready to be a “guarantor” of any future Afghan peace settlement.  Russia’s growing assertiveness as a diplomatic player in Afghanistan is opportunistic and strategic in nature. Russia views the Trump administration’s withdrawal from talks with the Taliban as an opportunity to rebrand its role in Afghanistan. (…)

As U.S. policymakers figure out how to reboot or replace the recently collapsed peace process, Washington should view Moscow as a potential spoiler of, rather than a partner for, its plans in Afghanistan. Russia’s willingness to engage with the United States in the country is principally aimed at highlighting its great power status and should not be viewed as real support. Although Russia is genuinely concerned about the spillover of terrorism from an unstable Afghanistan to Central Asia, it principally seeks to counter that threat by consolidating its hegemony over Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and strengthening its influence in Afghanistan by backing pro-Kremlin political figures.

As US-Taliban Peace Process Collapses, an Opportunity for Russia?

An expansion of Russia’s diplomatic involvement could help non-Western powers expand their say over Afghanistan’s political future.(…)

If Russia can distinguish itself from the United States by framing itself as a pro-peace actor in Afghanistan, it could overcome suspicions about its motivations and entrench itself as a major diplomatic stakeholder in Afghanistan. As Russia seeks to extend its diplomatic influence beyond crises where it is militarily involved, such as Syria and frozen conflicts in the post-Soviet space, to extra-regional collective security challenges, Moscow views a position of diplomatic prominence in Afghanistan as a major geopolitical prize. 

Russia’s Partnership Building Ambitions and Diplomacy in Afghanistan

The collapse of Trump’s negotiations with the Taliban also gives Russia an opportunity to strengthen its partnerships with China and Pakistan on conflict resolution in Afghanistan. While Russia and China have coordinated on Afghanistan-related diplomatic negotiations through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and independent multilateral initiatives, the collapse of Trump’s dialogue with the Taliban heralds a unique opportunity for both countries to upgrade their partnership. The most immediate area for Russia-China cooperation on Afghanistan relates to facilitating a U.S. troop withdrawal. China’s support for an “orderly and responsible” exit of U.S. military personnel from Afghanistan closely mirrors Moscow’s perspective on this issue.

A June 2019 report from the China Institute for International Studies, a research institute that is closely aligned with the Chinese Foreign Ministry, argued that U.S. operations in Bagram military base are a form of deterrence against Russia and China. The perception in Russia and China that the United States is subjecting their countries to a dual containment policy in Afghanistan could encourage them to legitimize the Taliban’s efforts to expedite a U.S. withdrawal. Russian Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzia’s efforts to facilitate a compromise solution in the China-U.S. diplomatic standoff on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)’s place in Afghanistan highlights the potential for a self-reinforcing partnership between Moscow and Beijing in Afghanistan.  

Pakistan and Russia’s mutual frustrations with the breakdown of U.S. negotiations with the Taliban also provides an opportunity for both countries to ameliorate tensions accrued by Moscow’s support for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to revoke Article 370 on Kashmir. Although Pakistan and Russia have both consistently supported a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, Umar Karim, an expert on Pakistan at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), told me in August that Pakistan believed that ending the war in Afghanistan required “active engagement” with the U.S., and that “Russia may be considered a negative influence.” If the United States does not wish to revive its dialogue with the Taliban, Pakistan could engage with Russia on Afghanistan with fewer inhibitions and facilitate an upgrade of its partnership with Moscow.  


Even though Russian policymakers expressed public frustrations with the abrupt breakdown of U.S.-Taliban peace negotiations, the collapse of these talks gives Russia an opportunity to bolster its influence over the Afghan peace process and strengthen critical diplomatic partnerships. A potential expansion of Russia’s diplomatic involvement in Afghanistan could help non-Western powers expand their say over Afghanistan’s political future and entrench Moscow’s value as a stakeholder on collective security issues in the Indo-Pacific region.

Samuel Ramani is a DPhil candidate at the Department of Politics and International Relations at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford. He is also a geopolitical analyst, who writes regularly for the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, and Al Monitor. He can be followed on Twitter @samramani2.

Yesterday a Taliban delegation arrived in Beijing for peacetalks. While China officially wants the Trump administration and the Taliban to restart their peace talks to have an orderly withdraw of the US troops, China as Russia want to promote their own influence in Afghanistan and especially China as Afghanistan should become part of its New Silkroad and prolongation of the China-Pakistan-Economic Corridor (CPEC). As China Pakistan wants to gain strategic depth in Afghanistan while India tries to counter these efforts by the abrogation of article 370 in Kashmir.

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