Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe at the Aug. 9-13 Zapad/Interaction exercise in China; Shoigu apparently did not attend the closer Aug. 1-13 INDRA-2021 exercises with India.
/ August 30, 2021
By Richard Fisher
Russia seeks to pursue a balanced strategic relationship with its major partners Communist China and democratic India.
For India, Russia is a longstanding and major source of modern weapons, military technology and increasingly, manned space technology. Russia engages in regular air, naval and ground force exercises with India with the main focus of improving India’s self defense capabilities.
With China, Russia has also been a longstanding source of weapons and military technology as well as space technology.
However, from Russia, China obtains much more: Russia is increasingly aligning itself with China’s ambitions for global political-military hegemony on Earth and hegemony over the Earth-Moon system.
Russia’s various supports for China’s superpower political-military goals are enabling China to surround India; deny Delhi strategic depth on the ground and to increase China’s ability to threaten India from the sea.
Communist China, however, is besting democratic India when it comes to political contest of demonstrating that Russia is a more powerful military partner to China than India. This was made clear during Russian military exercises with China and India in the month of August.
From Aug. 9 to 13, Russia sent ground forces from its Eastern Military District and some Su-30SM strike fighters to participate in the Zapad/Interatcion-2021 exercises hosted by China at the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Ground Force hi-tech Qingtongxia Contract Tactical Training Base under the PLA’s Western Theater Command.
A total of 10,000 troops participated in these exercises which were seized on by the PLA to produce a slick “advertisement” for new PLA weapons and its achievements in Joint Force Warfare.
It started with focus on how the PLA and Russian forces set up a Joint Operational Command that featured jointly shared command and control software, a first for China-Russia military exercises.
Russian troops were also given translated manuals to allow them to operate PLAGF ZTL-11 wheeled tanks and ZBD-09 wheeled infantry fighting vehicles.
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