CHINA and Russia—two of the most important Great Powers that are jointly working to accelerate the emergence of the Multipolar World Order—are on totally opposite sides when it comes to Kashmir, with their differing stances being explained by the existential stakes that they each see in supporting their South Asian partner of choice.
Two sides to every coin
It is official — Russia and China are on totally opposite sides when it comes to Kashmir. There was some serious confusion last weekend about Russia’s stance towards the issue when Indian media misreported the context in which Moscow’s statement on the disputed territory was made, making many
China, on the other hand, strongly supports its “iron brothers” in Pakistan, even going as far as planning to take the problem up at the UNSC in a
Their contradictory approaches are explained by the existential stakes that they each see in supporting their South Asian partner of choice. The Russian budget hasn’t diversified as quickly as the general economy has and is still significantly dependent on arms and resource (energy and mineral) exports, of which military-technical cooperation with India is still a huge part. Russia’s military exports to India fell by 42% in the last decade after its partner decisively “diversified” with “Israeli”, American, and French imports instead, and the raft of
Pakistan’s pivotal importance to China
As for China, the flagship project of its global Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which transits through northern Pakistani territory that India claims as its own per its maximalist approach to the Kashmir Conflict. CPEC has enabled Pakistan to become the global pivot state because of its irreplaceable role in safeguarding China’s strategic security by serving as Beijing’s only reliable non-Malacca access route to the Afro-Asian (“Indian”) Ocean, which in turn neutralizes the “containment” efforts of the US Navy in Southeast Asia and the South China Sea. Speaking of “containment”, the US tacitly regards India as the only mainland Asian power capable of carrying out this task on its “Lead From Behind” behalf, which therefore puts Indian Home Minister Amit Shah’s recent threatening remark in an entirely new light. The official thundered that “Kashmir is an integral part of India, there is no doubt over it. When I talk about Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin are included in it and can die for it”, which signaled the most hostile of intentions towards the People’s Republic that administers Aksai Chin.
Domestic economics vs. global geopolitics
When comparing the reasons for Russia and China’s differing stances towards Kashmir, it can therefore be clearly seen that Moscow’s are motivated by domestic economic considerations that surprisingly trump the “balancing” vision behind its recent “Return to South Asia” whereas Beijing’s are driven by geopolitical ones related to the New Silk Road and its territorial integrity. Unlike what the Alt-Media Community might wishfully think, these strategically partnered Great Powers are incapable of finding common ground on this issue, let alone in compelling their partner of choice to “moderate” their respective positions towards a speculative “compromise”, which neither of the South Asian parties is willing to do (nor do Moscow and Beijing have the leverage to force them to
Not-so-secret discussions behind closed doors
–– Global Research
[Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.]