Its hope for trilateral understanding seems to have dashed after deadlock in Bhutan.
New Delhi: India’s time-tested friend Russia is growing increasingly anxious about the Sino-Indian military standoff in the Doklam area of Bhutan as it has dashed Moscow’s hopes of any Russia-China-India alliance or “triangle”.
Russia was banking on a trilateral understanding between the three countries as its ties with the United States have nose-dived even under the Trump administration.
Sources told this newspaper that Moscow is extremely “worried” over the developments. Russia has had a time-tested relationship with India that has withstood occasional strains caused by India’s growing proximity to the United States and Moscow’s perceived retaliatory move at firming up ties with China’s all-weather friend Pakistan. But even Russia has realised that Pakistan can never supplant India in any such “triangle”. This leaves Moscow with the unenviable task of balancing its ties with New Delhi and Beijing amid deterioration in Sino-Indian ties.
Sources said Moscow is “closely watching” the developments in Doklam, even as Indian troops have dug in their heels with the Chinese are stepping the rhetoric with daily warnings to India. Indian troops entered Doklam to protect Bhutan’s territorial integrity after Chinese troops insisted on road construction in the area and brushed off attempts by the Bhutanese Army to stop them.
With the Kremlin’s ties souring with the west, especially over the conflict in Ukraine and the political situation in Syria, Russia has had no other option except growing closer to China. The move is ironical since China had military tensions and border skirmishes with the erstwhile Soviet Union five decades ago.
But things have drastically changed since then. Beijing no longer considers Moscow a threat. With US President Donald Trump’s perceived proximity to Moscow, Russia was hopeful of a rather dramatic improvement in its ties with Washington. But to its disappointment, things haven’t exactly worked out that way.