China backs India in Ukraine war

Mith the Russian attack on Ukraine, the wheels of diplomacy are also running at full speed in Asia. While the West is pressuring India for consideration for Russia, the country has China’s foreign minister back after a long ice age Wang Yi received in New Delhi on Friday. It was the first visit by a member of China’s leadership to India since the escalation of conflict on the disputed border line between the two countries in the Himalayas.

The goal should obviously be to get the relationship back on track. According to reports, Beijing wants India’s prime minister Narendra Modi to attend the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit to be held in Beijing later this year. However, India sees the withdrawal of all Chinese troops from the areas of tension in which the two sides have been facing each other since May 2020 as a prerequisite for normalization.

In addition, the talks should also deal with the conflict in Eastern Europe. With the visit to New Delhi, China is showing that it is by no means alone in its “neutral” position in the Ukraine war and is supporting India in its own restraint. As two of the largest countries, both China and India have so far survived the Russian invasion in the Ukraine not clearly condemned.

As a government that has sought ever closer ties with Western countries, pressure is mounting on New Delhi to reconsider India’s position. So did the American President Joe Biden Told business leaders earlier in the week that India’s stance on the conflict, unique among American allies, was “a bit shaky”. The fact that India had also accepted an offer from Russia to buy Russian oil at reduced prices caused particular astonishment.

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But New Delhi’s good relations with Moscow date back to Soviet times. Especially in the increasing strategic competition with China, India relies to a large extent on Russian weapons. “China, not Russia, is still the biggest threat,” the Hindustan Times newspaper commented on Friday. She warned that friends of “the free world” could turn their backs on India at a time when India was most in need of their help. “India is feeling the heat, there’s no question about that,” American South Asia expert Michael Kugelman told the BBC. There is a greater diplomatic risk involved in not wanting to commit yourself than in the past.

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