Japan-based news outlet Nikkei recently shared its custom clearance data made available by ImportGenius, an American research specialist, Exim Trade Data of India, and other sources, examining records on Russia’s imports of parts for weapons such as tanks and missiles.
In August and November 2022, the Russian NPK KBM, the Machine-Building Design Bureau responsible for missile production, bought six components for night-vision sights for ground-to-air missiles from the Indian Ministry of Defense for $150,000. The KBM had originally manufactured these parts, which are crucial for enabling missile performance in low-light and nighttime conditions, and had exported the same type of parts to India in February 2013.
The report while raising speculations on Russia’s war capability and sustainability also hints at plausible ways whereby other states continue to assist Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in one way or the other putting so-called Western ambitions of Ukraine liberation to hang in balance.
New economic sanctions, brain drain, component shortages, and work stoppages imposed since the start of the war in Ukraine in 2022 have significantly constrained the Russian defense industry. Russian intelligence agencies now spend time and effort on sourcing components, sometimes settling on inferior or defective substitutes. Under these circumstances, buybacks of exported equipment make it possible to keep relevance in the war while upgrading older weapons in Russia’s arsenal and sending them into battle.
Despite USA’s hegemony being put to the test in the Ukraine invasion, it has not been able to convince India to significantly decrease its dependence on Russia’s armaments since totally ending it is not an option-or other kind of exports from the country. India rather had maneuvered to move ahead of its long-standing bilateral defense relations with Russia, complicating the regime in its strategic ambitions in Ukraine.
China, by default, becomes a benefactor with QUAD being put to high stakes ostensibly. Quad, otherwise referred to as Quadrilateral Security Dialogue as a grouping of four ‘China problem’ states has been formulated with the very core of sending China on furlough, at least in the Indo-Pacific region. India and Japan’s contiguity as well as acrimonious relations with Chin make them a natural stakeholders in the grouping.
Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin met just days before Russia invaded Ukraine and announced their ‘no-limit’ partnership. Just as the European Union led by the USA, imposed economic sanctions on Russia and vowed to decrease their energy imports from Russia by two-thirds or $100 billion-although European Union still made $135 billion worth of energy imports from the country in 2022-China hopped into benefit Russia both politically and economically.
Measured by value, Russia’s pipeline gas exports to China increased twice in 2022, while its Liquefied Natural Gas exports more than doubled. China also increased its volume of Russian coal by 20%.
Since China is highly dependent on imported energy products, cheap Russian energy facilities mean supporting its economy and improving China’s competitive position in world markets.
India is also equally benefiting from the war in Ukraine. Russian crude accounted for about 40% of Indian crude oil imports of May, Reuter reports. But this painstakingly high share of Russian imports highly disrupts the Quad’s equation in China’s favor. This is primarily because the more Russia benefits economically or militarily, the more sustained would be its war standing and hence the more prolonged the invasion in Ukraine.
In other words, it implies that not only is India violating International humanitarian laws, but it is also actively assisting the rise of its proclaimed adversary, thus undermining the purpose and stature of structures like Quad, which specifically aim to prevent any such shift of China becoming a hegemonic power.
USA’s buck-passing in this case is failing in the Indo-Pacific specifically it is doubtful for India to detach from Russia when more than 45% of its defense imports worth $13 billion come from the latter.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a litmus test for the USA lead liberal world order. With China’s ostensible backing, the socialism of the two states seems to have joined hands. Russia’s successes also reap gains for socialism, at least in the domains of values and principles.
With the International condemnation of Russia and the rise of China, European states are increasingly bending towards China as evident from recent trips made by German Chancellor Olaf Schulz and France’s President Emmanuel Macron. Airspace-European aircraft manufacturer- also announce the opening of an assembly line in China during Macron’s visit to China. In other terms, the war in Ukraine is reaping gains for China, and states in the USA block are assisting the rise of the latter to this tune, in one way or the other. QUAD is ultimately going to shatter.
The author is a graduate of International Relations. With the experience of working with two top-notch Think Tanks, namely IPRI and SDPI, she has in her credit Research Papers and a number of articles on various national and International platforms. She tweets @sana_hamid_here