PThe main military difficulties in Ukraine are serious, as is the effect of western sanctions on the Russian economy. But that shouldn’t hide the fact that it was primarily the (extended) Western alliance that was against it. The two great powers in Asia, which everyone believes will soon become the most important region in the world, will not let Putin go. His foreign minister, who was in China earlier this week, has now been received in India. And China made it clear to the EU on Friday that it would stick to its previous position on the Ukraine issue.
No common interests
However, the interests of the two most populous countries are not identical here. India has a partnership with Moscow that has developed historically since the Cold War. They hardly want to hand it over to Beijing now, China is a difficult neighbor and ultimately a geopolitical rival. It is precisely for this reason that in recent years democratic India has actually grown closer to the West, especially the United States.
In contrast, the authoritarian China under Xi Jinping has increasingly defined itself as an ideological and strategic counter power to the West, again especially to America, which is still the supreme power in Asia. Putin will try to play this card as often as possible because it doesn’t just give him some breathing room on the diplomatic stage. The oil deal with India shows where the exit could be if he permanently loses his Western customers in the commodities business.
Going forward, German and European-Asian policies can no longer only be about trade and human rights. In relations with China in particular, one should not repeat the main mistake made when dealing with Russia: making oneself economically dependent. China may be further away from Russia, but its power is already greater.
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