September 16, 2022 Russia and Ukraine news

The SCO summit could have provided an opportunity for Beijing and Moscow to make an argument for a “multipolar world order,” but the Russian invasion of Ukraine may have led to divisions within the grouping and the isolation of some countries.

After watching Russian tanks roll into Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, Central Asian leaders in former Soviet territory worry that Russia is encroaching on their territory as well.

Kazakhstan, in particular, refused to stick to the Moscow line. It has sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and its president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has publicly refused to recognize Russian-backed separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, angering some Kremlin officials.

Experts say that China’s refusal to condemn Russia has also caused concern to Central Asian countries. This threatens to derail China’s efforts to build stronger relations with its Central Asian neighbors, an endeavor in which China has invested heavily over two decades.

During Xi Jinping’s state visit to Kazakhstan on Wednesday – his first overseas trip in nearly 1,000 days – the Chinese leader sought to allay such fears.

Also complicating the picture is India, which occupies a unique role in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Delhi, which did not condemn the Russian invasion like Beijing, has strong ties with Moscow dating back to the Cold War. According to some estimates, India gets more than 50% of its military hardware from Russia.

In recent months, India has significantly increased its purchases of Russian oil, coal and fertilizer, despite Western pressure to sever economic ties with the Kremlin in the wake of its aggression against Ukraine.

But Delhi has also seen relations with Beijing deteriorate due to disputes along their borders, and it has moved closer to Washington and its allies in the Indo-Pacific. India is a member of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue along with the United States, Japan and Australia, a grouping that is drawn closer by Chinese threats.

A source from India’s Ministry of External Affairs told CNN that Modi, who arrived in Samarkand in the early hours of Friday morning, is expected to hold one-on-one meetings with his counterparts in Russia, Uzbekistan and Iran.

But based on his temporary schedule, Modi did not have a scheduled meeting with Xi. The two leaders have not met since the border conflict between China and India began more than two years ago.

Last week, Delhi and Beijing began disengaging from the Gogra-Hotssprings border region in the western Himalayas.

In addition to their territorial disputes, Delhi is also wary of Beijing’s growing economic influence over its smaller neighbours.

“Since Modi came to power, we have seen relations (between India and China) deteriorate steadily,” said Manoj Kewalramani, a fellow in China studies at the Takashila Institute in India.

But Kiwalramani said the SCO could provide “space (for India) to engage with China and Russia”.

“In particular, being at the table while China and Russia are together, because the closer that relationship gets, the more difficult it becomes for India,” he said.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.