China to begin Kavkaz-2020 strategic military drills

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will today join the Kavkaz-2020 strategic military drills in Russia’s Astrakhan region. This year, the

china kavkaz drills

Photo: Sergei Grits/ AP

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will today join the Kavkaz-2020 strategic military drills in Russia’s Astrakhan region.

This year, the ten nations participating include Central Asian and South Asian states. India last week decided to eschew attending the exercise due to recent border tensions with China. Moscow typically uses this exercise—the largest in Russia, involving over 80,000 troop—to cement its sphere of influence in Eurasia as well as maintain ties with China and India.

India’s withdrawal is likely viewed favourably by Beijing as a crack in traditionally warm Russo-Indian military relations. These drills also offer opportunities to strengthen Sino-Russian relations as a counter to increasing US belligerence and the rivalry with India in the region.

Security in the Eurasian region is imperative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), with Eurasia holding much of the land-based infrastructure connecting China to European and Russian markets. Currying favour with Moscow remains pivotal to entrenching Chinese influence in the region, where Russia still dominates politically and culturally.

Expect India to remain committed to Russian ties to counter China, likely expressed via a fledgling Russia-India-Japan economic bloc based in Russia’s Far East.

Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.