China, India and the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Research by our Senior Researcher, Csaba Barnabás Horváth

The Russian narratives regarding the war often depict it as a conflict between a unipolar and a multipolar world order. If we judge Chinese and Indian policies regarding the war by their deeds, and not by their words, then it indeed outlines a kind of new multipolar world, but not quite the one Russia would have wanted. Rather one in which two emerging superpower aspirants are playing the role of the laughing third, (as well as laughing fourth) in the systemic conflict of the other two that were the superpowers of the 20th century. What some in the West and Russia see as a pro-Russian stance on behalf of China and India, can rather be described as neutrality on behalf of both. The neutrality of a proactive kind, in which both China and India appears to aim to extend their power and maximize gains while the conflict in Ukraine binds the attention and resources of both Russia and the West, however, the net outcome of their game appears to erode Russia’s power much more during the process.

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