South Asia and Beyond

Expect Full-Throttle Pushback By Russia & China Against Quad: Vijay Gokhale

NEW DELHI: One of the geostrategic implications of the war in Ukraine is a greater dovetailing between the Russian and Chinese ideas about the Indo-Pacific and the Quad, says former Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale. Speaking to StratNews Global Editor-in-Chief Nitin A. Gokhale, the former diplomat was of the view that China would ask Russia to support its vision of the Indo-Pacific if it supports Russia’s vision of what NATO is doing in Eastern Europe. Tune in for more.

TRANSCRIPT:

The conflict in Ukraine has geo economic and geo security implications for us that we should not ignore. Why do I say that? Because geo-economically, if we assume that one of China’s principal objectives coming out of this conflict is to harden its economy from subsequent western financial and economic assault, one must presume that there will be a greater, and not lesser, decoupling in the economic and commercial fields. And decoupling per se for us is not a good development because it limits choices. It then becomes a binary choice where we access one set of technologies, financial instruments or equipment, we are immediately closed out of the other sector. So this has an implication for us which we need to be aware of. The second, of course, is the geostrategic or geo-security implication. China is going to ask Russia to support its vision of the Indo-Pacific if it supports Russia’s vision of what NATO is doing in Eastern Europe. In other words, China backs Russia against NATO in Eastern Europe and Russia, in turn, backs China against what it calls the American version of the Eastern NATO or the Indo-Pacific NATO. Now this, of course, means a greater Sino-Russian combine against the idea of the Indo Pacific. So whereas previously, both Russia and China have spoken against the idea, the Russians have never dovetailed this with the Chinese idea. We can now expect dovetailing and pushback to be coordinated for them to work together on this. But I will go even further. I would say that we should, therefore, not only expect a full-throttle pushback against the idea of the Indo-Pacific itself but we should also expect the full-throttle pushback against the idea of Quad. And what is noticeable is that the Chinese foreign minister has equated Quad with AUKUS and The Five Eyes, completely unmindful of the fact that The Five Eyes and AUKUS are out and out military alliances or security alliances whereas Quad by no stretch of imagination is that. But this conflation of Quad with AUKUS, for instance, is a disturbing development we need to take note of because it complicates the geostrategic situation.

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