Russia, China AND India to hold joint military exercises?

For China and India to become involved in a joint military exercise with Russia is a pretty far-fetched idea at the moment, I’d say,, but Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov, in India to observe a joint Russian-Indian military exercise, has been busy talking up the idea.

Russian-Indian-Chinese military exercises could be held in the future under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Interfax reported Sunday quoting the Defense Minister.

In principle, this is possible. Weve held military exercises and there is nothing unusual in this, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told journalists in Delhi on Sunday.

The SCO [Shanghai Co-operation Organisation] was formed as an organization to deal with security issues and measures to ensure security he said.

[…]While joining the SCO as an observer India was guided by its national interests. If this is so, India is drawn to this organization by the main aspects of its work, security being its central aspect, the Russian defense minister said.

True, relations between the China and India have been gradually improving over the last decade or so, but they’ve been rising from a ridiculously low level, and have certainly not risen so much that they would wish to advertise their growing friendship by holding a joint military exercise – even if Russia is involved to make it look more multinational.

I think this is largely wishful thinking on the Russian part, an attempt to draw India further into the SCO – it currently only has observer status – in an attempt to balance the influence of China. The suggestion really does little more than show the Russia feels it is in a weak position in the SCO and feels that adding in a third large power would dampen somewhat the influence that China has in Central Asia.

[By the way, I’ve chosen this Mosnews article to highlight the story, as it is one of the laziest pieces of reporting I’ve seen for quite a while. You’ll note that they quote an Interfax article, and I guess that it is ok in a sense to quote quite extensively from them. But, in this piece, Mosnews have lifted the entire text of two Interfax articles (here, and here)and reprinted them almost verbatim. The only extra value they’ve added is two paragraphs at the end giving a little context (which I’d imagine they’ve lifted from another earlier article). Based on this evidence, they’re even worse than bloggers – at least we usually only excerpt sections of an article, and we tend to give back at least a little added value in terms of anaysis. OK, Sunday morning rant over, and now back to your normal scheduled programming.]

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