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Russia and China: common goals and common concerns
by Ilya Kramnik
Moscow (Voice of Russia) May 07, 2012

illustration only

Russia and China recently launched one of the largest joint navy drills, with a total of 25 ships and submarines, over 20 aircraft and special forces on both sides taking part in what is a very visible flexing of military muscle. The Maritime Cooperation 2012 maneuvers kicked off last Sunday and will run until April 27.

The modern political practice is largely based on dealing in subterfuges, with the real role of the armed forces being the most closely guarded secret. This is especially true of troops acting as part of international alliances.

The majority of international military exercises seemingly focus on predominantly humanitarian, peacekeeping missions, where countries learn to cooperate more closely on rescue operations, fighting arms and drugs smuggling, illegal migration and dealing with natural calamities.

On the other hand, emerging combinations of chess pieces on the global chessboard suggest that the existing balance of powers is going through major changes whenever other types of war games are reported.

Such is the case with the ongoing Sino-Russian naval drills, which heavily hinge on military implementation of naval and air defense troops, including engaging submarine and air targets, combating enemy vessels, coordinating submarine forces, conducting convoys and supplying ships at sea. Among the few humanitarian goals set for these exercises are anti-piracy cooperation and search and rescue operations.

China is the official host of the maneuvers, having dispatched 16 warships and motorboats, two submarines and a couple of naval auxiliary ships out of the total of 25 vessels taking part in the war games. However, the fleets of the two nations are interacting solely in the Russian language.

In its turn, Russia has dispatched several navy auxiliary vessels and a detachment of warships - the "Varyag" missile cruiser and three large anti-submarine ships, "Admiral Vinogradov," "Marshal Shaposhnikov" and "Admiral Tributs," coming back from the patrol shift in the Horn of Africa region.

These ships constitute the core of Russia's Pacific Fleet.

China is currently involved in numerous territorial disputes with Russia and Japan over the South Kuril Islands, however Moscow and Beijing also have a common opponent, namely the US.

Yet another stumbling block is the ties between the parties to the so-called "China-Russia-India triangle," where China and India have a history of long-strained relations. The recent years have seen a clear thaw between Beijing and New Delhi, with the both nations maintaining a steadfast partnership with Moscow.

This month Moscow hosted a summit between Russian, Chinese and Indian foreign ministers, a promising meeting that proved the three nations have common interests to defend. And indeed, these countries, who dominate the Asia-Pacific region, see eye to eye on a whole range of issues, including Afghanistan, the Middle East, North Korea and Iran, as well as their trilateral economic cooperation.

This all plays in Russia's hand, who has been pushing China and India to seal their long-lasting relations gap. Incidentally, Russia's military drills with either of its Asian partners will only benefit the common cause.

Source: Voice of Russia


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