Op-Ed Contributors

Emerging strategic triangle

By Yu Jincheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-11-17 08:01
Large Medium Small

Russia, India and China are pursuing common goals in international politics and economic development

In the latest move to enhance trilateral cooperation in a variety of fields, foreign ministers from China, Russia and India opened a two-day meeting in Wuhan, capital of central Hubei province on Sunday.

As the 10th of its kind, the meeting is an indication of the further deepening of trilateral ties among Beijing, Moscow and New Delhi.

Due to the ever-growing influence of the countries in regional and world affairs, trilateral cooperation between the three countries offers opportunities for further development.

As three of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) members, China, Russia and India together account for 40 percent of the global population and their combined gross domestic product takes up more than 15 percent of the world's total. The three countries also enjoy a particularly advantageous geopolitical position, along with an abundance of labor and natural resources, as well as some scientific and technological advantages. The geographical location of the three nations also facilitates further deepening of trilateral cooperation.

All three are emerging economies and have devoted themselves to raising their international status. Sharing the same or similar viewpoints on a series of international issues, all of the three advocate reforms to the current international order and are confronted with the pressing tasks of fighting religious extremism, ethnic separatism and international terrorism. All view economic and trade cooperation as an important platform to push forward the trilateral strategic partnership.

The "strategic triangle" concept was first put forward by former Russian prime minister Evgenii Maksimovich Primakov in 1998 during a visit to India. Although the idea received little enthusiasm at the time, China, Russia and India have begun to recognize the importance of enhancing their trilateral ties to safeguard their interests since the start of the new century, especially following the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The three countries opened discussions and official contacts on trilateral cooperation in September 2001 and the foreign ministers held their first "informal meeting" at the Russian port city of Vladivostok in June 2006, where they issued a joint communiqu that declared that the deepening of trilateral beneficial cooperation in concrete fields would make substantial contributions to peace and stability in Asia and the world. The heads of the three countries met on the sidelines of the G8 summit in July 2006.

China, Russia and India have a common strategic need to deepen their trilateral ties. In today's world, where international relations are undergoing profound changes and multi-polarization is further accelerating, the three nations enjoy similar stances on many international issues: all advocate democratization of international relations and the establishment of a new international order built on universally recognized international laws. It is also their common view that the authority of the United Nations should be maintained. As emerging economies, all hope to play an important role in regional and international affairs.

The global financial crisis, which has dealt a heavy blow to Western countries, has made the China-Russian-Indian trilateral cooperation increasingly prominent. Although the crisis did deal a blow to Russia, which has depended on the export of resources and energy to sustain economic growth, the crisis has offered rare opportunities for the three countries to push forward their economic restructuring and to take the initiative in the post-crisis era.

The sustainable economic development of China and India, the world's two most populous nations, has played a significant role in helping the world economy recover.

However, despite tangible advancements in recent years, China-Russia-Indian trilateral ties also face some difficulties. Mutual political trust among them should be further enhanced. Beijing and New Delhi are still plagued by some thorny issues in bilateral relations, such as border demarcation issues.

The US factor in the triangular ties of China, Russia and India also cannot be ignored. Washington has been worrying that a strong relationship among the three emerging nations will pose a threat to its global dominance and thus has made unremitting efforts to boost its own ties with India in its attempts to contain China.

In his recent visit to India, US President Barack Obama reaffirmed the US' strategic intention of deepening strategic and military cooperation with New Delhi.

The author is a lecturer with the Beijing Technology and Business University.