Home Russia & China China Russia starts the largest military exercise with China but why now?

Russia starts the largest military exercise with China but why now?

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News Analysis |

With the participation of about 300,000 active military personnel, over 1000 aircraft, and 80 ships, Russia kicked off its largest military exercise since 1981. Vostok-18, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu, are largest exercises in the military history of the country. Apart from Russia, nearly 3200 Chinese troops along with fighter jets and helicopters are also the part of these drills. Though Mongolia is another participant it has not yet released the details of the extent to which it is going to be a part of the broad spectrum of military training.

Due to an overwhelming no. of troops and war machines having a Russian flag, these exercises are predominantly Russian with a nominal inclusion of China and Mongolia just because the exercise is to commence right next to their borders. An exercise of this magnitude with the participation of all branches of the military at this particular times demands attention as it is a multiple-course message.

A far stretched exercise such as Vostok-18 at this critical juncture of time when Russia seems to be in control of calling shots in all the substantial strategic regions of the world is going to be morale-boosting about President Putin and cause of concern for NATO and the United States of America.

The concept of war has changed since the elaborative branches of the military in the form of infantry, Airforce, and Navy have come into existence. Hitler, via Blitzkrieg, introduced a new dimension in which all these forces can be utilized simultaneously to win the war within a very limited window of time. Since WWII militaries around the world have gone massive modernization which has now become a pre-requisite for s stronger defense. Israel’s impressive onslaught and victory against a proportionately massive enemy force were made possible because of the modern military strategies which Arab armies were actually short of.

In the same context, Russia despite having an army which numbers more than a million is operationally way below par then its adversary forces of United States of America. Modernization of the conventional and nuclear weapons with the purpose of overhauling of the entire military set up for the Russian army has been President Putin’s aim in recent past. First and foremost, the drills involving all forms of military apparatus is an effort in the same regard to bringing on the cutting edge coordination which is the need of the contemporary world.

Read more: A new normal in Russia-China military cooperation

As stated earlier, Chinese participation in the exercises is of nominal significance in terms of the proportionate no. of troops participating in the exercise, but despite the proximity which might have played a role in China’s inclusion, the U.S policies have pushed both Russia and China closer to each other. Both countries are having an enormous trade of goods with China’s direct investment reaching to new heights inside the Russian mainland. Concurrently, Russia is one of the biggest exporters of oil to China.

Experts, on the other hand, also view the massive military movement right next to China’s border as a silent signal that Russia is more than capable of protecting its land. It is believed by some circles inside Russia that China is increasing its influence in the mineral-rich Russian Far East. Last year during a summit on the lines of One Belt One Road initiative, President Xi announced an investment worth $10 billion for the infrastructure building inside Russia.

Read more: Russia prepares for biggest war games in its history

While it was certainly a closure of Sino-Russia relations, but it was also taken as an impression of increased Chinese footprint which may later cause an economic problem for Russia. Analysts believe that the alliance is not sustainable in the long run but as long as both the countries have a common adversary in the form of United States, contentions can be managed. It has been an established global understanding that both Russia and China have colluded to challenge the western, specifically U.S hegemony over the world.

America’s strategic plans in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and to some extent in the Korean Peninsula as well, have been jeopardized by the cunning maneuvering of President Putin. A far stretched exercise such as Vostok-18 at this critical juncture of time when Russia seems to be in control of calling shots in all the substantial strategic regions of the world is going to be morale-boosting about President Putin and cause of concern for NATO and the United States of America.


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