- NBR - The National Bureau of Asian Research

Challenges and Opportunities: Russia and the Rise of China and India

Dmitri Trenin


This chapter examines Russian perceptions and policies regarding the rise of two Asian giants: one near neighbor, China, and one long-time ally, India.

Main Argument:

The rise of China and India confronts Russia with many challenges, while also offering several opportunities. These challenges and opportunities include:

  • rethinking Russia’s traditional Eurocentrism and opening the country to Asia, including by creating international arrangements with the region’s principal players—notably China and the United States—that would make Russia’s position in the Asia-Pacific more secure
  • developing the Russian Far East and integrating it with the rest of the country, while also developing ties with Northeast Asia and the North Pacific
  • filling market demand where Russia has comparative advantages, such as in energy, water, and transportation
  • striking a new balance in relations with China
  • re-energizing relations with India by transforming the relationship into a technological partnership and a security pillar, particularly with regard to Central Asia and Afghanistan

Policy Implications:

  • Russia should use preparations for the 2012 APEC summit in Vladivostok to map a strategy toward the Asia-Pacific.
  • Moscow needs to keep relations with Beijing on an even keel, upgrade the partnership with New Delhi, and demilitarize relations with Washington.
  • Russia must think strategically about Japan and work to transform the relationship into one like the current Russo-German partnership. Likewise, Moscow should build a long-term relationship with Seoul, supporting it on Korean reunification and engaging it in Russia’s modernization effort.