Vladimir Putin’s lengthy Q and A session at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum was filled with Putin’s typically thorough responses to major contemporary issues. However, while most people focused on his remarks pertaining to the situation in Syria and Libya, as well as the infamous non-relationship with Donald Trump, Putin’s most important remarks were largely ignored.
During the Forum, President Putin signed important bilateral agreements with Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India. In a lengthy letter offering fraternal greetings to the Russian President and nation, Modi affirmed the historic relationship between the two countries which goes back to Soviet support of the Indian people even prior to their independence from the British Empire.
Both Putin and Modi were asked if there are any conflicts of interest in Russia’s continued friendship with India and her more recently consecrated close friendship with China. Both leaders spoke in a clear, united voice on this issue.
Vladimir Putin spoke of how warm relations between the Chinese and Russian leadership helped solve 40 year old crises and how both Russia and India are destined to play a substantial and positive role in China’s One Belt–One Road (often referred to as the New Silk Road) trade project.
The Russian President also talked about how the positive developments in relations between China, India and Russia lead to the formation of the BRICS. Putin stated correctly that based on the progress made between China, India and Russia, Brazil and later South Africa sought membership of the economic alliance.
Putin’s words were strongly echoed by Prime Minister Modi who downplayed historic differences between Beijing and New Delhi and instead focused on areas where both countries can mutually contribute to wider peace and prosperity with of course the help and participation of Russia.
In many ways, it is Russia’s historic friendship with India and her recently build but highly important partnership with China that has brought together three deeply important Asian countries (Eurasian in Russia’s case).
The unity and success of the emerging section of the multi-polar world is dependant on this partnership.
Of course, there are continued disputes that all three countries will have. An alliance, partnership or friendship does not automatically mean that all disagreements will evaporate with immediate effect nor ever, this is true among men, among families and among nations.
France, Britain and the United States have often had disagreements, but until recently, no one has questioned the fact that these nations form part of a domineering alliance, albeit one whose power is rapidly declining.
Similarly, Russia, China and India will never agree on everything, but this does not in anyway contradict the broader trajectory of the countries working in ever closer cooperation economically, in respect of trade, security and even militarily. The key difference is that Russia, China and India are ascending powers while the western alliance is on the decline. Furthermore, Russia, China and India each offer each other a wide variety of diverse and important potential contributions to one another, whilst members of the western alliance are offering less and less to each other.
Putin and Modi’s warm relationship as exhibited in St. Petersburg combined with the recent visibly friendly atmosphere between the Russian and Chinese leaders during the recent One Belt–One Road Forum in Beijing, means that each country is on the correct path towards increasing partnership and cooperation.
Indeed, India is set to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation this year, of which China and Russia are founding members. Pakistan, India’s long time rival is also set to join, something which could do a great deal to ease tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad.
Likewise, the leaders of China, India and Russia remain committed to the BRICS which along with the Russian led Eurasian Economic Union will play an important role in the creation and implementation of China’s One Belt–One Road project.
While many are observing the decline of the west, far too few have remarked on the rising sun in the broader global east.