India and China Take Part in Russia's Vostok Military Drills
According to the Russian Defence Ministry, the Vostok 2022 exercise will take place until September 7 at seven firing ranges in Russia’s eastern Siberia, Russia’s the Far East, and the Sea of Japan, involving more than 50,000 troops and over 5,000 weapons units, including 140 aircraft and 60 warships. The Vostok drills are the second joint military exercise conducted by Chinese and Russian soldiers this year.
The Defence Ministry noted that as part of the manoeuvres, the Russian and Chinese navies in the Sea of Japan will “practice joint action to protect sea communications, areas of marine economic activity and support for ground troops in littoral areas.”
India and China have refrained from condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and have not joined Western sanctions against Moscow.
China blamed the United States and NATO for inciting Moscow. Russia, in return, has backed China in the aftermath of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan. India’s oil imports have risen sharply this year as it takes advantage of deep discounts.
India, one of the top arms importers in the world, acquires most of its weapons from USA and Israel to replace its existing Russian systems. When asked about India’s participation in the Vostok military exercises earlier this month, State Department spokesman Ned Price stated that the United States understands that reorienting a country’s foreign policy is a long-term challenge.
“India has been regularly participating in multilateral exercises in Russia along with a number of other countries,” Arindam Bagchi, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, said when a journalist asked him a reaction to the comments by the White House Press Secretary.
India has also acquired an S-400 air defence system from Russia, but the USA has not imposed CAATSA sanctions on that country.
The strengthening Russia-China relationship may also become a source of concern for New Delhi as tensions between India and China over border disputes continue. While Beijing has previously participated in drills with Moscow, its participation in the Vostok military exercises reflects growing defence ties between the two countries amid Western tensions.