Russia and China display their might, without targeting the West!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
It may be just a coincidence or even pre-planned, but Russia and China have clearly upset the western nations, especially USA, Japan and allies by demonstration their might in a subtle manner.
Russia on May 09 staged a grand military parade here to commemorate the 70th anniversary of its victory over Nazi Germany in the presence of several world leaders, including President Pranab Mukherjee, even as Western powers boycotted the event due to a standoff over Ukraine.
Victory Day is Russia’s most important secular holiday, both commemorating the Soviet Union’s huge suffering in the war and highlighting Russia’s portrayal of itself as a force for peace and security. This year’s parade, on the 70th anniversary of the surrender, was the biggest military parade since the Soviet Union’s collapse.
May 9, which is celebrated as the ‘Victory Day’, unites Russians from all walks of life irrespective of political sympathies and draws huge crowds, including war veterans, their widows and family members gathered at the Red Square to witness the event. The 70th anniversary celebrations stand in contrast to the festivities a decade ago, when Putin hosted the leaders of the United States, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
The grand parade was held even as the Ukraine crisis continues, with the West slapping sanctions on Moscow over Russia’s seizure of Crimea and alleged support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. Nearly 10,000 soldiers, including an Indian Army contingent and China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), took part in the parade on the iconic Red Square here which lasted for over 90 minutes. Russian President Vladimir Putin witnessed the parade along with Mukherjee, Chinese President Xi Jinping and UN Secretary General Ben Ki-moon.
Other Presidents attending the event included Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, Raul Castro of Cuba, Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Jacob Zuma of South Africa. After the parade, all the heads of the state attending the event, including Putin and Mukherjee, walked down from the Red Square to the Kremlin, waving to the massive gathering.
Western powers like the USA, Russia’s World War II allies Britain and France have boycotted the event over Kremlin’s “meddling” in Ukraine. United States President Barack Obama has snubbed the celebrations in Russia, as have the leaders of Britain and France. Smaller parades in 25 other cities also took place during the day involving 25,000 soldiers.
The parade on Red Square showcased cutting edge weapons such as the next-generation Armata T-14 tank and advanced military aircraft. An estimated 27 million Russian soldiers and civilians died in World War-II. The Red Army’s victory continues to remain a great national pride. Also on view for the first time at the parade was a lumbering RS-24 Yars ICBM launcher along with several new, smaller vehicles.
In his speech to the assembled troops and veterans, President Vladimir Putin said that the carnage of the war underlined the importance of international cooperation, but “in the past decades we have seen attempts to create a unipolar world.” That phrase is often used by Russia to criticize the United States’ purported aim to dominate world affairs.
Later Saturday, an estimated 300,000 people walked through central Moscow to Red Square, holding portraits of relatives who fought in the war. Putin joined them near Red Square
Meanwhile, Russia’s closest ally China embarked upon extensive land reclamation efforts at five outposts in the disputed Spratly Islands, adding huge amounts of terrain to bolster its civil and military presence in an area claimed by rivals, a new Pentagon report said recently. Chinese building and land-filling efforts have accelerated this year, with the total acreage added to the outposts in the South China Sea growing from 500 in December to about 2,000 today, a US defence official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The Spratly chain, where China has built at least one previously submerged reef into an island, is claimed by at least three other countries: the Philippines, Taiwan and Malaysia.
Americans say they do not support South China Sea land reclamation efforts by any party. An US official said, “However, the pace and scale of China’s land reclamation in recent years dwarfs that of any other claimant. China has expanded the acreage on outposts it occupies by some 400 times.” By comparison, Vietnam has reclaimed some 60 acres of land closer to home in the South China Sea area since 2009, the official said. Beijing’s activity in the South China Sea was one of several security issues raised in the Pentagon’s annual report to Congress on Chinese military developments. The report, which covered the 2014 calendar year, also raised concerns about cyber intrusions, a growing submarine force and China’s lack of transparency about its military intentions.
China is said to have used its cyber-espionage abilities to target US defense-related networks last year on a number of occasions, the report said, successfully penetrating contractors for US Transportation Command about 20 times to steal information. Beijing has placed a priority on modernizing its submarine force and now has 62: five nuclear attack submarines, four nuclear ballistic missile submarines and 53 diesel attack submarines, the report said. That compares to 71 operated by the United States. The Chinese force is expected to grow to between 69 and 78 by 2020. China has manifested “more forceful rhetoric and confrontational behaviour” in dealing with rival claimants for the region’s resources, the report said, including blocking resupply missions to a Philippine outpost at the Second Thomas Shoal and sending a drilling rig into waters claimed by Vietnam.
China’s land reclamation in the Spratlys will enable it to have “persistent civil-military bases of operation to enhance its presence significantly in disputed areas. Beijing’s continues to pursue a long-term, comprehensive military modernization program. China has the “most rapidly maturing” space programme in the world, is the only country other than the United States with two concurrent stealth fighter programs and has road mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach most of the continental United States. The military modernization “has the potential to reduce core US military technological advantages,” and is worrying because of the lack of transparency surrounding Chinese decision-making and intentions, the report said. Absent greater transparency, these concerns will likely intensify as the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) modernization progresses.
Russia’s show of victory day parade and China’s extensive land reclamation efforts in the South China Sea clearly indicate a simmering cold war between West and Russo-China.