Russia is carrying out another large-scale military exercises with China, this time inviting forces coming from India, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Russia research experts like Mathieu Boulegue, of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, perceive the military drills as Moscow’s way of sending a message of power to the West.
Actually, Russia and China started holding joint military exercises via naval drills held as far back as 2012. Even a decade ago, the display of military partnership by the two countries was already regarded as their way of showing those in the West that they do not stand alone.
Fortunately for Russia, the U.S. through Trump has become vulnerable by playing right into Russia’s strategic move by accepting help in getting him installed in 2016 as the president of the U.S. Even more favorable to the strategic Russia-China military partnership is the trade war initiated by Trump versus China, which weakened not only the U.S. economy but in multiple economies in the West.
Still, Russia’s Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, stated earlier this September that the continuation of their series of joint military exercises is not directed against any specific country, but only as a means of countering threats of international terrorism,
Yet, observers like Mathieu Boulegue view this year’s show of military partnership by Russia and China as one that sends
“a very much anti-Western message, specifically anti-American message to convey that Russia is not isolated and Russia can operate even with a potential rival like China; albeit Russians still cautiously regard China as both friend, enemy and potential competitor.”
According to Boulegue, it is also Russia’s opportunity to show off military wares that it can provide, not only to China, but to the new forces participating in this year’s “Tsentr-2019” military exercises.
“Tsentr-2019” is this year’s holding of Russia’s grandiose annual war games, which will put up for demonstration more than 20,000 military weapons and equipment, 600 aircrafts, as well as 15 naval ships and support vessels, whilst involving 128,000 military personnel.
According to the Russian defense ministry, drills are likewise designed to tryout the readiness for combat of military commanders and troops stationed within Russia’s central military district in Tsentr, Russia. In addition, participants will get to see Russia test its military prowess in the Arctic.