Joint Military Exercises of China and Russia (Peace Mission 2005): Geo-political and Geo-strategic Implications

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The eight-day joint military exercises, which involved nearly 10,000 troops in east China’s Shandong Peninsula, have been interpreted as a series of signals: to Washington, to other nations in the region and even to one another. However, multiplicity of signals bears a risk that some could remain unheard.

— Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily

The joint first-ever military exercises between China and Russia was the logical continuation of the first signs of cooperation between Russia and China in the struggle against ‘orange revolutions, (Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan)’ separatism and the dominant influence of the U.S. in the Euro-Asiatic sphere. It was lesson for all the regional countries like India and Afghanistan not to spread their wings beyond their limits. It would be moral boaster for Iran. It was warning to the US’s geo-political and geo-strategic designs in Asia and Central Asia. As Washington has been increasingly stuck in its Iraqi quagmire, Russia and China seemingly availed themselves an opportunity to demonstrate their unwillingness to live in a uni-polar world.

The US had indicated unease over the pace of China and Russia’s military build-up. The US viewed with distrust the strengthening ties between the two countries, which, have developed a “strategic partnership” to oppose US domination in global affairs. Russia and China are also seeking to check the presence of the US in Central Asia and to consolidate their own influence in the volatile region. The US closely monitored the drills and warned that they should not undermine regional stability. The military drill had also set off worries in the US that China might be preparing for a possible surprise strike against “Taiwan” before other countries can intervene. Beijing has already vowed to attack Taiwan if the island formally declares its independence. The levels of mutual trust and understanding are on the rise between the two countries. Russia is now China’s leading arms supplier.

The United States was not invited to observe the war games conducted by China and Russia but defence officials from India, Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia presented in China to watch the military exercises. The US Pacific Command used EP-3 surveillance aircraft along China’s coasts and two Navy surveillance ships that were dispatched to waters near the exercises.

The “Peace-2005” official name of the first ever-joint military exercises of China and Russia ended August 28, 2005. The drills conducted in Jiaodong peninsula in China’s Shandong province and in the Yellow Sea, involving 10,000 troops and an array of modern military technology. Through the joint military exercises China and Russia sent a strong signal to Taiwan not to go down the road to independence and to the United States not to push China and Russia into a corner by backing Taiwan independence forces. According to the Russian newspaper Kommersant, the exercise was funded by China and reflected a wish in Beijing to send a warning to Taiwan. Some 7,000 Chinese troops and more than 1800 Russians were involved in the drills. The first phase of the exercise, involved warships, submarines, bombers, helicopters and fighter planes, near the city of Vladivostok on Russia’s Pacific coast. Russian equipment that was tested in the drill included the Il-76 transport plane, Il-78 refueling plane, A-50 early warning plane, Tu-95 MS and Tu-22M3 strategic bombers, Su-24M2 bomber, and Su-27SM fighter jet. Chinese hardware used in the drill was not specified.

The above diagram clearly shows that the US has already encircled the whole Central Asia and some crucial geo-strategic parts of Asia. Now, the main stakeholders like China and Russia are doing their levels best to break the siege. The Peace Mission 2005 organized and carried within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization [SCO]. Russia and Chain are and were worried about the increasing geo-political consequences and geo-strategic implications along with the destabilizing political consequences of the US military involvement near their respective borders. Russian and Chinese leadership were very annoyed at the US ‘s support for the “Orange Revolutions (foreign sponsored)" in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. They disliked the US commitment to regime change in the region and see a double standard in counter-terrorism policy in its condemnation of Uzbekistan’s repression of demonstrators in Andijan in May 2005.

Both the countries along with the other participants of the SCO meeting demanded the US to specify a deadline for its use of basing facilities in Central Asia. The undue involvement of the US in the domestic politics of the Uzbekistan made the entire region against the foreign sponsored wave of revolutions. Ultimately President Islam Karimov ordered to end US basing privileges in the country. Defense Secretary of the United States of America Donald Rumsfeld traveled to the region to ensure that the US will retain access to its other base in Kyrgyzstan and over flight rights in Tajikistan, which support US and North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO] operations in Afghanistan. Keeping in mind the possible fall out of increasing military influence of the US. Russia has already made its own base in Kyrgyzstan in October 2003, which now houses a small CIS rapid deployment force, and set up another in Tajikistan in October 2004.

History of Preparations

In the beginning, Russia proposed holding the joint military exercises in Xinjiang, due to its proximity to the Russian air base in Kyrgyzstan. Instead, China suggested Zhejiang province, across from Taiwan. When the Russian side rejected that location as too provocative, the two countries agreed to hold the exercise in Shandong province. The substantial naval contingent from the Russian Pacific Fleet, including a large BDK-11 assault ship, the anti-submarine warfare vessel Marshal Shaposhnikov, the destroyer Burny, and diesel submarines played an important role in the outcome of the whole drills of both the countries. The naval squadron joined with Chinese forces to simulate a major amphibious landing on a beachhead in the Jiaodong peninsula. Russian bombers Tu-95S Bear strategic bombers and Tu-22M3 Backfire long-range bombers also operated near Qingdao, including air cover by SU-27SM fighters armed with AS-15 3,000-kilometer cruise missiles against naval targets.

Chinese destroyers, submarines and fighter planes actively participated and coordinated with a Russian missile destroyer and anti-submarine vessels simulating a naval blockade. A Russian A-50 Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems [AWACS] aircraft circled to monitor ‘enemy’ movements both in the air and at sea as the joint blockade was mounted.

Main Geo-Political And Geo-Strategic Implications Of First Ever-Joint Military Exercises

While Peace Mission 2005 may be a joint exercise, China and Russia are pursuing different goals. The importance of Central Asian hydrocarbon resources to China is Clear. China has realized her potential energy interests and geopolitical importance by expanding her geo-economic space in Central Asia in next century. At the same time, it offers a historic opportunity for activities in Central Asia, Middle East and Russia to establish her geopolitical strength. Beijing’s geopolitical role aims at an effective balance of power in the competition for economic expansion. But it made the US angry.

China

Russia

The exercise provides an important training function, but is also designed to demonstrate its naval power to Taiwan and other neighbors. First giant step towards One-China policy. To counter the recently executed Strategic Partnership of the US and India. To send Japan a message regarding Beijing’s capability to defend its interests in offshore territorial disputes. To decrease the geo-political and geo-strategic influence of the US in Asia. To oppose a US-dominated security order in the region and around the globe. To protect the long border 4,300-kilometer. To show the West they were solid partners. The drill took an anti-American or anti-Western position. Both countries wanted to improve their position for bargaining in terms of security, politics and economics.

To train its pilots, test its equipment; showcase its technology for China’s purchase. Terrifying the states of CIS not to render their bases to the US. Discourage the uprising, check the wave of separatism and control the incidents of terrorism (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan). Warn Afghanistan against its US dominance. To give moral support to Iran against the expected attack or sanctions imposed by the US. To devise a broader, more inclusive framework for regional security that would take into accounts the growing linkages between Eurasia and East Asia and look beyond military counter-terrorism strategies to address root causes of instability.

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Conclusion

It is the lesson of all the ancient civilizations and modern international politics that “Peace” can only be obtained through “Aggression” and “Might” not by sermons of isolation, anti-war stance, and the last not the least of having true spirits of friendship. Due to the dawn of globalization of finances & economies and computer based revolution has made our world a connected place especially after the 9/11 where, geo-political and geo-strategic concerns of the different countries pose a serious threat to others main stakeholders.

The Peace 2005 the first-ever joint military exercises of China and Russia was just the beginning of a war of nerves of military strategy among the world’s three most powerful countries, based on real hardball politics, military hardware and spy ware. In the animals kingdom the roaring of “Lion” saves it from any possible attack from “Wild Dogs”. The peace 2005 was seemed to be roaring of the Beijing and the Moscow in order to threaten the regional states and send clear but strong message to the US to stay away from the region.

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