Fear of closer India-Russia ties main reason of US’ sensitiveness on India’s participation in military drills
Published: Aug 31, 2022 10:16 PM
US-India Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

US-India Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The US is concerned about India's plans to participate in the joint military exercises with Russia, the White House said on Tuesday. Such kind of "concerns" is entirely triggered by US' hegemonic mentality, in line with the manner in which Washington has performed in the international community. And it demonstrates to the world the US attempts to rope in India are far away from being successful.

The Vostok 2022 strategic exercises will be held September 1-7 in the Russian Eastern Military District. Thirteen countries including China and India are invited to send troops to participate in the drills. 

When asked about India's participation, White House Press Secretary Karen Jean-Pierre said, "The United States has concerns about any country exercising with Russia while Russia wages an unprovoked, brutal war against Ukraine. But, of course, every participating country will make its own decisions. And I'll leave it at that," according to the Economic Times, an Indian media.

The participation of countries like China and India in the Vostok 2022 strategic exercises is their "sovereign decision." And compared with those military drills launched by the US with targeted potential enemies, the Vostok 2022 strategic exercises are just normal military exchanges among different countries. Washington is in no position to point its accusing finger at any participating countries. 

The US has carried out far more joint military exercises surrounding China with its allies, without Beijing's consent. According to the logic of the US, China needs to have "concerns" much more than the US does.

The US was reported in early August to take part in October in a joint military exercise with India in a region less than 100 kilometers from the South Asian country's border with China, with a self-evident intent of "stirring up trouble," while when India is to attend military drills with Russia, the US expressed "concerns." This sharp contrast can serve as another example demonstrating US' double standards, under which the criteria of right and wrong is totally in control of the US.

Actually, Washington has always been worried about New Delhi, and its concern over India's participation in military drills with Russia is merely a manifestation, said Song Zhongping, a Chinese mainland military expert and TV commentator. Song noted that the US has ramped up its effort to rope in India, hoping that India could treat the US faithfully, play a bigger role in the multilateral or bilateral cooperation mechanism between the US and India such as the Quad, and become an important pawn in US' Indo-Pacific Strategy. However, it's impossible for India, as a major power, to blindly follow the suit of the US. 

India's deep ties with Russia have frustrated the US. In particular, Washington has been disappointed with India not following it in sanctioning and condemning Russia for the Ukraine crisis. The US is also worried that closer India-Russia ties will hinder its own Indo-Pacific Strategy. As a result, Washington is sensitive to any interactions between India and Russia.

India's participation in the joint military drills organized by both the US and Russia once again proves that US' attempts to woo India haven't succeeded. New Delhi's current strategy is still to sustain a balance between Russia and the US. This can help the South Asian country gain benefits from both sides without offending either of them, and maintain its own independent political posture. But it will be Washington's wishful thinking to try to turn India into a loyal ally like either Japan or Australia.

Furthermore, it is noticeable that although both China and India are set to participate in the Vostok 2022 strategic exercises, remarks by the US and some Western countries are quite different. When it comes to India, despite of "concern," Washington admitted "every participating country will make its own decisions." But in terms of China, some groundlessly branded China-Russia cooperation as "undermining global security" and some expressed their repeated "fears" that China and Russia could develop a formal military alliance.

From the different narratives, it can be seen that the focus of the US and the West, especially the former, is actually not China and India participating in the military exercise itself, but the geostrategic consideration, Lan Jianxue, director of the Department for Asia-Pacific Studies at China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times. When China and Russia are regarded as "major threats," the US and the West are now taking full advantage of nearly every opportunity - the Vostok 2022 strategic exercises included - to slander the close relationship between China and Russia. It clearly mirrors Washington's distorted mentality toward China-Russia relationship.

However, since the US is roping in New Delhi, Washington's remarks on India's participation in the military exercises are much milder. This is because it does not want to push India in the opposite direction. 

From Washington's subtle differences, it can be concluded that the US and the West are thinking and behaving entirely from a geographical perspective.