Why Putin Took Crimea


Lessons for India and the world: China’s South sea versus Russia’s Cremia. – I

Russia is an old trusted friend, and continues to be. China is an unreliable neighbour and shall remain so. That is a broad Indian mindset. What Russia does in Syria, Cremia and else where we do not treat it seriously may be look at it with a soft corner or give a blind eye. But what China does in an around us not only makes us stand up but makes us nervous.

However there are similarities between the two powerful nations. First both of them stand opposed to United States of America. Both of them are governed by quite autocratic way despite of Russia being a democratic nation. The Russian President Vladimir Putin is more powerful than any other democratic nation and uses his power to run the full show in the country, something that the People Republic of China party also does, overruling popular sentiments and or democratic process.

Therefore there are many things that we can try to learn from the democratic Russia to understand the mindset of undemocratic China.

An article in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs,
will be useful to many who are following Indian foreign policy and defence strategies ad can thus provide important cues.

The article tries to provide reasons for the sudden attack of Russia to capture and grab Crimea, from Ukraine which has also become a contentious issue between NATO and Russia.
The author argues for three reasons / interpretations of Putin’s move over Cremia, which are as follows:
1. The first—call it “Putin as defender”—is that the Crimean operation was a response to the threat of NATO’s further expansion along Russia’s western border.

2. A second interpretation—call it “Putin as imperialist”—casts the annexation of Crimea as part of a Russian project to gradually recapture the former territories of the Soviet Union.

3. A third explanation—“Putin as improviser”—rejects such broader designs and presents the annexation as a hastily conceived response to the unforeseen fall of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
ALL THE THREE arguments are dealt in detail that provides reasoning for Putin’s move. We are interested in this article of course for obvious reasons but also to apply the same reasoning and try to understand what China is doing in this part of the world.

After annexing Tibet with itself and bothering India from time to time on Arunachal Pradesh and other parts of the country China’s focus has shifted over recent years. It has been active in constructive cooperation with Pakistan and is taking the silk road project with great passion and enthusiasm. It has also been active in Gilgit region. And recently it has been seen proclaiming its ownership on south China seas thus placing overall south Asian countries under terror. Its flirtations with Nepal and Sri Lanka has also taken big leaps.
Thus one finds that China is moving towards a bigger and greater strategic objective and goal in the region. taking cue from the article mentioned above similar reasoning can be applied to China.

The main reasons for China can be as follows:
1. To check the growing dominance of United States just like what Putin felt with NATO in his region.

2. Similar to the second reason of Putin we can argue with the Chinese policy of imperialism and expansion of its geographical boundaries.

3. Hastily driven moves does not fit as chinese are known to make their moves more deftly and strongly. Therefore we have to be content with two reasons and arguments for the chinese policy in the region.
As United States keeps its pressure and diplomatic overtures on India for joint tactics it is necessary to understand the reasons for Chinese aggression.

If the first argument is strong than India can wait for more time to think and decide. However if its reason number two than we may have to arrive at an early decision to form a joint coalition with US so as to keep a balance with China.

We keep the debate alive at the moment and will try to argue for the two reasons and come with a logical decision. This should help the country to form a policy towards China and i the larger geopolitical interests and peace.

Asheesh Shah
Author: Asheesh Shah

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