Russia Facing China and India in Central Asia: Cooperation, Competition, and Hesitations

  • MarlÈne Laruelle
Part of the The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy book series


If Russia reacts strongly to the presence of other international actors in its former Central Asian “backyard,” this reaction, although based on objective economic competition, is mainly due to subjective perceptions related to balance of power issues. Russian global geopolitical interests have substantially changed since the end of the cold war and the Kremlin is still in the process of adjusting its perceptions of the international scene, with difficulties in identifying its long-term partners and enemies.2 Moscow is regularly concerned with the United States’ advances in Central Asia, and sometimes with those of the European Union, comments with disdain on Turkey’s presence in the 1990s and on that of the United Arab Emirates since 2000, has relatively little worry about the activities of Iran and India, and dare not take a critical position on the Chinese presence. The Sino-Russian partnership was strained compared to the good relations between Moscow and New Delhi, with the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation signed between the two countries in 1971 in the midst of the Sino-Soviet conflict. However, since the 1990s, Russia has played the rapprochement card with China, forging a new ally in a world set to become multi-polar. The relationship between Moscow and New Delhi has suffered from Russia’s ventures toward China, but the doubts the Russian elite harbor regarding Beijing’s ulterior motives in the Far East and Central Asia have not been erased—quite the contrary.


Shanghai Cooperation Organization Political Rapprochement Central Asian State Cultural Diplomacy Military Cooperation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Marlène Laruelle, Jean-François Huchet, Sébastien Peyrouse, and Bayram Balci 2010

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  • MarlÈne Laruelle

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