India is challenging Chinese influence in the South China Sea with its outreach to regional powers, including Russia, with which it has agreed to launch a maritime route that would partly go through the hotly contested waters, analysts said.
Under the memorandum of understanding signed by India and Russia – two traditional security allies – during a regional economic forum this week, a new Indo-Pacific sea route will extend from the port city of Vladivostok, in Russia’s Far East, to Chennai, on the Bay of Bengal in eastern India.
The shipping route will partly traverse the South China Sea, the scene of numerous territorial disputes involving China and neighbouring countries over the years.
In addition to cooperating on the planned maritime route, India and Russia could ramp up their alliance in the military and technological spheres, according to a joint statement released at the economic forum in Vladivostok. . .
“This could signal that India’s cooperation with Russia is now coming to a substantial phase,” Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said in an interview. (Read more from “Surprise: India and Russia Challenging China in South China Sea” HERE)