Originally, Beijing and Delhi were not inspired with the perspective of the trilateral strategic partnership
The dispute regarding the first priority in the foreign policy of Russia – whether it should have the Western or the Eastern orientation – has been going on for quite a long time already. The discussion was not surfacing much only during the Soviet era, perhaps. However, it would not be correct to compare the foreign policy of the USSR with the one of present-day Russia.
The issue of the Russian foreign political priority has been gathering pace for the recent six or seven years. The then Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, who currently chairs the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, became the person, who spurred the issue up again. Mr. Primakov set forth the idea to establish a special relationship between Russia, India and China. The idea was later referred to as “Primakov's Triangle” in Russian journalism.
It goes without saying that the idea of creating such a triangle is based on the wish to challenge the supremacy of the USA. This desire can be seen rather clearly, although it differs a lot with the real state of things. The idea seems to be quite nice, although Primakov's triangle is not likely to take the shape of something real. Yevgeny Primakov's idea was impromptu, for the politician did not put forward any certain suggestions on the matter.
Beijing and Delhi were not inspired with the perspective of the trilateral strategic partnership because of the above-mentioned reason. The two countries are not ready to challenge Washington just because of the fact that they are happy with their cooperation with the USA in comparison with Primakov's idea to come into a certain political alliance with Russia. In addition, the US administration has recently lifted restrictions for arms deliveries to India, which might cause very big problems to the Russian defense export to this country. The USA does not have an intention to make such a concession to China, though. On the other hand, Washington has recently removed its objections regarding lifting the embargo for arms deliveries from the European Union.
In addition, the USA is an extremely important trade partner for India and China. Russia will not be able to make a competition at this point, at least in the nearest perspective. Needless to mention that neither Delhi nor Beijing will agree to sacrifice the profit for the sake of a rather obscure goal.
To crown it all, both India and China used to experience keen rivalries in the struggle for their influence in the Asian region. Pakistan was supporting China in that struggle, whereas India was having traditional problems with it.
Russian experts are being rather skeptical about the idea to establish an alliance with India and China too. Yevgeny Primakov stated last week at the Diplomatic Academy of the Foreign Ministry of China that such an opportunity seemed to be possible for him. “The triangle will be very helpful in maintaining the regional security,” Primakov said. Sergei Karagonov, the chairman of the presidium of the Russian Council for foreign defense policy, is certain, though, that Primakov's idea is nonviable. The specialist believes that none of the three states want to create a direct opposition to the USA: “China, Russia and India want to be friends with the USA,” Karagonov said.
Mr. Karagonov also pointed out considerable cultural differences between the three countries, as well as intense relations between China and India, RIA Novosti reports.
It was reported on Monday, however, that India and China concluded a strategic partnership agreement. Details of the new document were not exposed, although it is known that the parties came to agreement on the issues of the long-standing border dispute, bilateral trade relations and the economic cooperation. Indian and Chinese prime ministers stated that the document would boost diplomatic and economic links between China and India and help the two states resist “global threats.”
For the time being it is not known if Russia is going to have at least something to do with the “strategic partnership” of India and China. It is not ruled out, though, that Beijing and Delhi decided to do without Moscow's participation.