Date :18-May-2024

THE possibility of a political settlement to bring to an end the war between Russia and Ukraine -- that emerged following a meeting between Russian President Mr. Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping -- should not be taken at the face value. For, such settlements rising from the ground almost all of a sudden may conceal in their folds a fine print of a possible hidden agenda most probably aimed at hoodwinking the world. This doubt gains an extra currency with the knowledge that China is initiating what can be described as peace process. For, whenever and where China is engaged or involved, there always are possibilities of some clandestine arrangement that may take the world rather by unpleasant surprise. Yet, by any standard, it is the world’s first need to see some sensible and sane settlement of the Ukraine conflict -- understandably started by Russia when its forces invaded Ukraine. The conflict did not remain restricted only to the two countries but also extended its impact-tentacles the world over -- through serious economic and geopolitical fall-outs. Ukraine being one of the global leaders in certain industrial domains, and Russia a superpower of sorts even in the changing world order, the conflict between the two countries has pushed the world into conditions very tight and difficult from multiple angles.
The situation became all the more complicated by somewhat illogical involvement of the Western block in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. As a result, there came a moment when the Ukrainian leadership wondered where its western friends had gone when it needed them the most. The West did help Ukraine with war merchandise and other support all right, but did not do much to solve the problem as perceived by Russia. All in all, the role the West played in the conflict has many suspicious dimensions that need to be understood. India played its cards smartly and earned benefits for itself well beyond the idea that the West harboured in its overall thinking. Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi ensured that India did not lose its touch with reality of international realpolitik but did not miss a single chance to tell the world what mistakes were being done and by whom. That was exactly why Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi had told Mr. Putin clearly that the era was of peace and not of war and that peace was the first and basic need of the world. No matter these fine details, the world will support any sensible move to bring about a political settlement in Ukraine.
However, when China is involved in any so-called peace-process, its outcome needs to be considered with sufficient practicality. As Mr. Xi Jinping and Mr. Vladimir Putin stood together to express hope that a political settlement in Ukraine may be a possibility, they also warned the West against attempts to drive a wedge between Moscow and Beijing. True, the West is quite capable of trying to unsettle any possible settlement, if it were to be authored by China. For, the western leadership is aware of how dangerous Chinese involvement in any ‘settlement’ may prove in the long run. In this particular conflict -- of multiple interests -- it is necessary to call Russia as an aggressor who started the trouble. True, Russia-Ukraine hostilities do have a background of their own, all right. But for all practical purposes, the world sees the conflict as an outcome of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In a complicated changing world order, Russia and China are trying to rebuild mutual ties -- certainly based on their common perceived interests (which may not be benign every time. Hence the word of caution that world will have to watch against a hidden Chinese agenda in peace-process.