MOSCOW, May 15. /TASS/. Russia and India should by all means avoid involvement in the growing standoff between the United States and China. They might also spearhead the group of countries that would like to steer clear of this confrontation, the research director of the international discussion club Valdai, Fyodor Lukyanov, told a joint webinar of the Valdai club and the Indian think tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
"We should by all means stay away from the flywheel of the US-Chinese confrontation, which is gaining momentum. One of the tasks of Russia’s foreign policy in the foreseeable future will be to accurately build a system of counterbalances that would on the one hand prevent us from being involved in this confrontation, and on the other hand, enable us to use the fact that there are some other countries that have absolutely no intention to participate in it. Their interests differ, but also their interests may coincide in different ways," Lukyanov said. "There is a common task of positioning oneself in the new world in a new way. I think that India and Russia can play the role of flagships."
Lukyanov recalled that two years ago some participants in Valdai discussions voiced ideas that Russia and India should pool efforts to avoid getting drawn into the US-Chinese confrontation. At that moment many regarded that as a very hypothetical possibility. Now it is turning into an applied task.
Senior research fellow Vasily Kashin, of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of the Far East, said that amid the pandemic the logic of US internal politics will be that of pushing many political forces towards shifting the external conflict with China into high gear and of blaming it for the coronavirus crisis. "On the other hand, in China we can see growing nationalism, stronger popular unity, and changes being made to the style of Chinese diplomacy, which has turned very harsh. From time to time China voices personal insults against US officials, which was utterly inconceivable just recently," Kashin said. "The conflict is aggravating and the current surge of nationalism and hostility between the two countries may result in mutually destructive measures."
Kashin mentioned such measures as the introduction of protectionist barriers, sanctions and accelerated pullout of US manufacturing operations from China. Such steps may harm both countries and bring about "structural changes in global politics and the global economy."
"What makes the role of Russia and India so special is that the outcome of the US-Chinese standoff will depend on them. The key role of Russia and India is more than obvious to many in the United States and China," he said. "Our position implies certain opportunities, but it is rather risky at the same time. It will be quite logical for us to step up our political consultations and political coordination and to give thought to practical cooperation guidelines that would enable us to put greater emphasis on bilateral cooperation."
He underscored the need for pushing ahead with cooperation in security, energy and economic ties. More active joint work would let Russia and India enhance their strategic autonomy amid global instability, Kashin believes.