Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India said Xi Jinping is a “dear friend,” while Chinese commander-in-chief Xi Jinping called him his “best and bosom friend.”
But the relationship between Russia and its former partners in Asia has been brought into question due to recent events between Moscow and Kyiv.
The two nations, China and India, have refused to criticize Russia’s vicious attack on Ukraine. Both abstained in voting on United Nations Security Council and General Assembly motions calling for Russia to cease its assault on Ukraine.
However, with the West outright saying that nations that do not rebuke Putin’s invasion are considered as associates to Russia, the two most populous countries in the world are experiencing growing global pressure to sound off or face the likelihood of being viewed as conniving.
Both countries have not tried to do something about the issue, implying that Russia has a colossal power in Asia, where arms trading and flat-out barter have enabled Moscow to manipulate regional fault lines and fragile relations to the West.
Meanwhile, US and European officials have responded to the assault as part of a more expansive ideological war on behalf of democracy, freedom and law.
But for two of Asia’s leading countries, those lines are faint, leading experts to conclude that their own ulterior motives prompt India and China.
In Beijing for the Winter Olympics earlier this year, Xi and Putin issued a 5,000-word statement that Russia and China’s relationship has “no limits.”
The previous year, the two nations achieved a bilateral trade of $146 billion and remained to keep the tradition of joint training with a large-scale combined military practice. They share a border of 4,000 kilometers (2,458 miles) long.
China is Russia’s leading trade partner; however, Russia doesn’t reach China’s top five.
Meanwhile, India’s relationship with Russia is challenged by China. As a result, India has sought to overthrow China’s growing influence in the Asia-Pacific.
In 2018, India signed a weapons deal worth $5 billion with Russia for an air defense missile system, even with the awareness of the sanctions America could put via the US side’s Counter America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
“This isn’t about going against the West or supporting Russia,” Happymon Jacob, an associate professor of diplomacy and disarmament at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, said. “(India’s government) hasn’t explicitly supported Russia, but they have to take a more careful, nuanced approach.”