In the wake of the fall of the United States (US), equations are getting tougher to balance. India is the only major economy in the world which has found a way to manoeuvre between both interest groups. But, the challenge is getting bigger for India. With increasing military capacity, Japan is also turning into one of those, whose demands we have to cater to sooner or later.
US is concerned over Vostok 2022
India, Russia and China, 3 big heads of BRICS grouping are slated to participate in Vostok 2022 military exercise. Countries such as ex-Soviet nations, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Syria will also benefit from the drill by sending their troops. 50,000 Armed Forces Personnel, 5,000 weapons units which include 140 aircraft and 60 warships will be shaking various locations in Russia’s Far East and the Sea of Japan. As expected, the drill has invited tantrums of the United States. Sleepy Joe is concerned over the involvement of Russia.
But this time they were quite diplomatic in their stance. White House refused to put specific pressure on India as they did earlier this year. Karine Jean-Pierre, the ‘Glass ceiling breaker’ press secretary of White House said,” the United States has concerns about any country exercising with Russia while Russia wages an unprovoked, brutal war against Ukraine. But, of course, every participating country will make its own decisions. And I’ll leave it at that,…”(sic)
India’s partial participation
On the other hand, India has taken its own independent stance. It has refused to participate in the maritime component of the drill. While it would be ideal for Indian forces to test their strengths, there are too many facts in the way of that.
Russia and China coming together is a threat to Japan
The controversial part is the maritime part of Vostok 2022 exercise. As the name suggests, the Sea of Japan is a bone of sovereign contention between Russia and Japan. Tokyo opposed to Moscow’s intention to hold the marine portion of Vostok 2022 close to Northern Territories, also known as the Southern Kuril Islands, which are claimed by both Russia and Japan. Yes, two friends of India are engaged in a territorial dispute over the location. It is amply clear that Russia and Japan are not on the same terms. The involvement of China further complicates the problem. To say the least, China has an acrimonious relationship with Japan.
During the second world war, Japanese had kidnapped, tortured, exploited and hanged Chinese on gallows. Even after 77 years and multiple statements of apology by the Japanese, the Chinese have not forgiven them. More recently, China has started to use the past to its advantage. They have turned their decades-old victim status into a victim card.
Late Shri Shinzo Abe was probably the first to notice it. He simply stopped apologising for Second World War atrocities. Resultantly, both neighbours grew further apart. Japan has even started its remilitarisation. It’s obvious that the presence of China along with Russians in the Sea of Japan is perceived as a threat. This is the reason why Japanese authorities are inclined towards deploying 1000 missiles in the Sea of Japan.
India needs both Japan and Russia
Naturally, India has two conflicting options. Japan is a key partner for us in our developmental journey. Japanese investment is one of the main reasons why Bullet Train and other high-tech infrastructures are soon going to be a reality. Moreover, they are also becoming key participants in our Aatmanirbhar (self-reliant) campaign. Cultural ties are ever-growing and the popularity of the Japanese language is spiking.
Our equations are similar with Russia. While Japan has been an able partner in our developmental journey, Russia is the one which has helped us get cheaper food in the last few months. A large part of our Defence capacity is also attributed to Russia. The only thing which both countries lack is a high volume of trade, which won’t be a problem in a few years.
We need both countries on our side. It is a tough balance to strike out. But, India has taken a stand which can keep both countries happy for the time being. All we can do is hope that the Sea of Japan doesn’t become an ego tussle between Russia and Japan in upcoming years.
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