Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The 18th meeting of foreign ministers of China, Russia and India was held on Friday via video link. The line in the joint statement that followed that “ministers expressed support for China to host the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games” drew wide attention.
The United States and some of its allies such as the United Kingdom and Australia are considering a “diplomatic boycott” of the Beijing Winter Olympics. In recent years, New Delhi has moved closer to Washington in terms of geopolitics and is hostile to Beijing on some issues. In this context, India’s support for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics surprised some domestic and foreign Internet users.
In addition to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, the joint statement also mentions a consensus in other areas between the three foreign ministers. For example, concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, they reiterated “the need to continue cooperation in this fight, among other things through the sharing of vaccine doses, the transfer of technology, the development of local production capacities. [and] promotion of supply chains for medical products. They agreed that cooperation between China, Russia and India “will not only contribute to their own growth, but also to world peace, security, stability and development.” humanitarian assistance to be provided to Afghanistan.
This fully demonstrates that although border disputes between China and India continue to exist, they do not constitute the whole of bilateral relations. The two parties have many common interests in various fields. The two countries can strive to prevent conflicts from affecting their cooperation as they did before 2020.
India’s behavior towards the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics embodies the fact that New Delhi retains its strong diplomatic and strategic autonomy. Despite its close ties to the United States, India does not mean that it leans toward the United States in all regional and international affairs. New Delhi is simply not Washington’s “natural ally”.
India has strengthened its collaboration with the United States, as well as with its allies such as Japan and Australia, while India’s cooperation with China, Russia, other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the BRICS also continues. This shows that in matters of diplomacy, India seeks to move flexibly between the great powers and various mechanisms in order to maximize its diplomatic maneuver space.
“India is sending a positive signal to the outside world that India will try to manage friction with China, and bilateral relations tend to stabilize after the deterioration over a period,” Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times. “But to return to the situation before the current stalemate, more efforts and patience are needed. Both sides must meet their challenges through more dialogues and consultations.”
“Washington’s attempts to hang on to New Delhi will not cease because of the latter’s attitude towards the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. The strategy of the United States is to compete with China and Russia. and the United States has always seen India as a smart way to mount its rivalry with China and Russia. “
But India’s stance on the Beijing Winter Olympics and other contents of the joint statement made it clear that India will not become an ally of the United States or another “little brother” like Japan or Australia. India dreams of becoming a great power itself and will hesitate to join the United States.