Azerbaijan military servicemen will not join Caucasus-2020 military exercises, arranged and operated by Russia. Though the formal reason was not disclosed, only 2 servicemen will represent Azerbaijan army during the exercises. Earlier, India also refused to participate in the mentioned military exercises, reported to take place in Russia in September.
Was COVID-19 the reason for that countries to reject their participation? Unlikely. Let’s remember a recent fact – when at the height of the pandemic there was an armed conflict on the border of India and China, COVID-19 was not the reason to cancel the transfer of Indian units across the country. The reason of refusal of participation in Caucasus-2020 in the Indian military department was called the coronavirus pandemic, still the real reason is presence of Pakistani and Chinese military units at these exercises.
We all know that there was intense confrontation between Indian and Chinese military units near the disputed border of both countries. To prove that we have to mention another important fact – on June 23, 2020, the foreign ministers of Russia, India, and China held online negotiations, despite the military clashes on the Indian-Chinese border.
Nevertheless, the version of the Indian media – “the factors of China and Pakistan” does not look convincing enough. “Caucasus-2020” are not only military exercises, it is political intention of Moscow to become peacemaker and mediator of conflicts the other participants of “Caucasus-2020” are currently involved in. This hidden sense of the military exercises provoked irritation in the United States, which thought that Russia was apparently seeking to assume the role of a peacemaker in the Sino-Indian conflict. At the same time, Russia cannot be treated as unprejudiced party in this conflict – simply because Russian-Chinese relations are large and considerable, it has been proven by the support Moscow showed Beijing in time of trade war between China and the United States. Indian government is totally aware of it, so Russia cannot play the role of mediator – therefore there is no reason for Indian government to send their troops to join “Caucasus-2020”.
The United States could well “ask” India not to participate in these exercises, since in recent years the role of the Russian factor in Sino-Indian relations has been rapidly increasing, and Russia’s military-political relations with both countries have become especially important. India cannot skip the strong advice outgoing from closest ally.
There are at least three argument for India to follow the US position to reject participation in Russian military exercises.
The Trump administration has promoted military and economic cooperation with New Delhi in the format of Indo-Pacific region. The “China factor” has markedly contributed and continues to contribute to the rapid improvement in Indian-American relations and it was just the solid addition to “Pakistan factor”, which has been active since the first Indo-Pakistani war.
In the early 1990s. 3 million people were the members of Indian community in the United States and currently more than 16 million US citizens have Indian origin. Likewise there is consolidation inside the US government towards India.
Either Republicans or Democrats have the same position to advocate Indian-American partnership and to go on in its further development.
India’s military-industrial complex has considerable cooperation level with the United States, this level cannot be even compared with Russian one. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, US arms sales to India currently stand at about $ 18 billion and could grow after approving a deal that will allow India to buy $ 1 billion worth of naval weapons and ammunition.
The mentioned facts make us think that Russian military exercises “Caucasus-2020” will meet appropriate response of the US – because of its not only military, but also political sense.