The Trilateral Threat: India, Russia, And China

Delving into the trilateral dynamics among India, Russia, China, and the USA underscores global tensions, prompting the need for unified strategies against shared threats.

The Trilateral Threat: India, Russia, And China

India, which the US and its allies had believed would stand up to China as a bastion of democracy, is starting to pose issues.

With a 2022 GDP per capita of barely $2,400, the South Asian nation is incredibly impoverished. Nonetheless, it wants to present itself as a rising economic giant. It is becoming more and more dictatorial. However, it aspires to be viewed as inclusive of all groups, especially democratic nations. Narendra Modi, its prime leader, is a haughty, fiercely nationalist, and ambitious to become a superpower. As a result, there is growing tension between India and more mature nations, such as the United States. This is partly due to New Delhi’s unduly intimate ties to two of the most dangerous tyrants in the world: Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China.

Beijing is the leader of several international efforts that New Delhi participates in, and it provides financial support to Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is centered on the military and is the closest the three have to an alliance structure like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), is one of the Beijing-led groups in which the three nations collaborate. Their socialist pasts and the advocacy of a “new multilateral” international structure, which they hope to use to their advantage in uniting the developing nations against “imperialism” and the “West,” provide the three with ideological common ground.

India is still a democracy amid the wolves and has the option to retrace its steps, thus this growing trilateral threat is far from settled. Although China and Russia have been close partners for a long time, their relationship is weak when it comes to India, which continues to depend on the markets, acceptance, and backing of the Group of Seven (G7).

The danger is made more complex by New Delhi’s covert criticism of Moscow’s war with Ukraine and simmering boundary tensions between China and India in the Himalayas. Its SCO veto authority may be advantageous to the democracies. Russia is being forced into the arms of China and India due to its declining international standing as a pariah state, while New Delhi is attempting to distance itself from Moscow, at least somewhat. Mr. Modi has even gone so far as to forego his yearly face-to-face meetings with Mr. Putin during the past two years.

However, the reason for India’s ongoing cooperation with Russia in its fight is that New Delhi broke the G7 sanctions prohibiting it from buying Russian oil beyond a $60 per barrel price threshold that was agreed upon in 2022. Russia lost over $38 billion as a result of the cap, but India’s evasions drove up the price to roughly $70 per barrel. This drives up gas prices worldwide and enriches the Kremlin for executing civilians in Ukraine. The world owes New Delhi for its lack of moral integrity and the suffering it is causing the entire world.

India imports nuclear power plants, weapons, and oil from Russia with the extra money. Given that the two nations intend to work together to create armaments, India is buying Russian military hardware that may be utilized in New Delhi’s border conflicts with China. Beijing may find this annoying, but it probably would rather India rely on Russian weapons rather than American ones. Beijing would therefore have leverage over Moscow to stop arms deliveries to India, including vital replacement parts, in the event of a Sino-Indian confrontation.

Following the war in Ukraine, European sanctions against Russia caused its exports to go east. China and India now receive almost 90% of Russia’s oil exports; the former can import up to 50% of the country’s total oil imports, while the latter only receives 40%. China’s trade influence over Russia would be significantly larger if Indian purchases had not occurred. Thus, Beijing’s growing economic domination is aided and abetted by New Delhi.

France and Germany will fund India’s urban infrastructure mission after the nations’ previous cooperation on the CITIIS 2.0 program.

Moscow depends increasingly on New Delhi to restrain Beijing’s strength as a result of Russia’s increasing status as a pariah, bringing the three countries closer together and posing a more consistent danger to the democracies. One of the main objectives of U.S. foreign policy is to completely isolate India from China and Russia; this is the reason Washington does not criticize the South Asian nation more outwardly. Still, more needs to be done since India is becoming an increasingly autocratic and “anti-Western” nation, and because U.S. businesses are moving away from China and risk becoming dependent on India’s cheap labor. This runs the risk of consolidating Indian political power in Washington through the same kind of elite capture that shielded Beijing from earlier setbacks.

Since the various incentives of the past, including direct development aid, are underestimated, the United States and the G7 countries must put economic sanctions on India to reduce these dangers. We are now concluding that India is a fickle friend, as our attempts to purchase friendship seem to have failed. India will need to be moved away from China and Russia through tariffs and sanctions. No G7 nation should enter into new free trade deals with India, not even the United Kingdom.

This is not the place to apply this tough-love strategy to a fellow democracy, just to India. Instead, new rules of this kind ought to be imposed on any nation that does not work in tandem with the US and its allies to counter existential threats from China and Russia as well as trilateral dangers arising from the cooperation of other nations like India.

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