Chinese military supplies to Russia – Why Beijing needs this more than Moscow?

China has never had the opportunity to conduct a combat test of its weapons and the Russia-Ukraine war provides this much-needed opportunity.

On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that China was considering supplying arms to Russia, after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Munich on the sidelines of the Security Conference. Blinken warned of “implications and consequences” for China if it were found to be providing “material support” to Russia in its war in Ukraine or helping it evade Western sanctions. Tensions between the United States and China are high following the discovery earlier this month of a Chinese ‘spy balloon’ over US territory.

The Chinese Government denied that it was considering supplying arms to Russia to support its offensive in Ukraine, as claimed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “We do not accept the United States pointing fingers at China-Russia relations, let alone exerting pressure and coercion,” said Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, accusing Washington of “spreading false information.”

How will China benefit from arms sales?

After the West naturally rejected the Chinese peace plan, Beijing untied its hands on the issue of legal military-technical assistance to Russia. The longer the Ukrainian conflict lasts, the more countries are betting on this “game”. Western countries have bet on their American support while Russia has bet on China and India. The latter countries have fully benefitted from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict by processing Russian exports and also occupying their markets through their engineering, cars and pharmaceuticals products. Only one country is clearly out of the game for betting on black and red at the same time, and that is Turkey.

China has a lot of obvious and a number of non-obvious benefits from arms supplies to Russia. But for these deliveries to not go in vain, the two countries will have to get closer than ever before in history. In order for the deliveries of Chinese attack and reconnaissance UAVs and MLRS to be productive, the machines themselves are not enough. They need satellite reconnaissance too. It is critically insufficient for Russia (no more than 150 satellites in orbit), and insufficient for the Chinese themselves (150 satellites in orbit). But when resources are pooled, the capabilities of both sides will double. But this requires a decision on rapprochement to the level of the closest military-technical and intelligence cooperation. Are the rulers of the two countries ready to take such a step?

As far as the war is concerned, Russia needs:

  • Small reconnaissance, strike and civil aircraft-type drones and quadrocopters, in large quantities (hundreds of thousands of pieces)
  • A significant number of medium and large shock drones (hundreds of pieces)
  • Dozens of long-range MLRS installations capable of accurately hitting a target at a distance of 200-400 km, having a diameter of 200 to 600 mm.
  • Short-range air defence systems, as well as devices for electronic warfare.

China has all of this, and they demonstrated their use during the “Taiwan crisis” during the visit of Nancy Pelosi. In particular, in the field of MLRS, the Chinese have gone far ahead of the Russian systems, from which they initially copied their systems.

China has never had the opportunity to conduct a combat test of its weapons and the Russia-Ukraine war provides this much-needed opportunity. Electronic warfare and counter-battery systems are excellent evidence of this. If a war between China and the United States take place anytime during this decade, China would have tested all its weapons in combat.

China’s actions may not be in the interest of Russia, but India’s own interests are very closely aligned with that of Russia. In addition to the most valuable information about the quality of its tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, UAVs and MLRS, Beijing can make great money by creating an additional driver for economic growth, just like the United States did. This will be especially true after the most difficult Covid era, during which the Chinese authorities began to feverishly sell their weapons to other countries. The sale of arms to Russia is also the export of yuan, which they will sell to us in exchange for resources so that we can then buy weapons from them.

Based on the aforementioned issues, we can assume that Beijing needs to export its weapons to Russia more than India does. India is not in a dire situation. New weapons will help Russia win faster and save more lives. Iran, for example, is already gaining invaluable experience in the special military operation zone, and some critically important weapons in return.

How will the China-Russia military alliance affect India?

The necessary international context has already been created for the supply of weapons. Now it is up to Xi Jinping and Putin. Hence any assistance from China to Russia would hinder the balance against India in context with Russia and may also isolate New Delhi.

Geopolitical: The alliance between China and Russia can shift the balance of power in the region, potentially limiting India’s influence and heightening competition for regional dominance.

Economic: India could face increased economic competition from China and Russia, particularly in areas such as energy, natural resources, and trade. The alliance between China and Russia could result in increased economic cooperation, including joint ventures and trade deals that could make it more difficult for Indian businesses to compete in certain markets.

Military: The alliance could result in increased military cooperation between China and Russia, potentially leading to a strengthening of their military capabilities and a threat to Indian security. The strengthening of ties between China and Russia can lead to increased cooperation in military and technological spheres, potentially creating challenges for India’s military capabilities.

Diplomatic: India may have to navigate a more complex diplomatic landscape as a result of the alliance, particularly in international forums such as the United Nations, where China and Russia wield significant influence. The China-Russia alliance may result in both countries working together to block specific initiatives India supports in international forums such as the United Nations. The alliance may result in the two countries backing a particular position in the United Nations Security Council, making it harder for India to get its own resolutions passed.

The USA is already in talks with its allies for their support over possible sanctions against China for its military assistance to Russia. It is expected that any development regarding the same would have a massive turnaround in global world order including the present war.

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