08/28/2008, 00.00
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Moscow seeks allies on Georgia, but China and India fear separatism

The Russian president is seeking support for his decision to recognise independence for the two Georgian regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. But separatism is already an internal problem for both Beijing and New Delhi. Giving the go ahead on independence, means risking the break up of the two Asian giants.

Dushanbe (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The capital of Tajikistan, Dushanbe, is the setting for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting, which opened today gathering together 4 Asian central republics (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kirgizstan and Kazakhstan), China and Russia.  India, Iran and Pakistan are also attending in the capacity of observer status.  Discussions will centre on terrorism and drug trafficking based in Afghanistan.  But for Russian president Dmitri Medvedev it also presents the perfect occasion to seek support in his standoff with the West over Moscow’s recognition of independence for South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Moscow’s decision has been condemned by many western nations as a violation of Georgian integrity and a return “to the Cold War”.

Former Georgian (and ex USSR) leader Edward Shevardnadze has asked the international community to boycott the 2014Winter Games due to be hosted by Russia in Sochi. Hu Jintao has already declared that China supports Russia in its right to keep the Games, but so far has made no statements regarding Moscow’s moves on Georgia and the separatist republics.

Beijing to date has remained neutral on the standoff between Russia and NATO, merely expressing its “concern” over the situation.  Many experts believe it almost impossible for China to throw its weight behind Medvedev on South Ossetia and Abkhazia; given that China also has problems with separatism in Xinjiang and Tibet. “This is an embarrassing situation for China”. Jin Canrong, a professor at Renmin University's School of International Studies, said.  “On one hand, China is a close ally with Russia, but on the other hand, China does not support separatism".

The same can be argued for India where many groups from Kashmir to Bengal are fighting for independence.

In supporting South Ossetia and Abkhazia, it seems as if Russia is exacting its revenge for the West’s support of Kosovo independence.  In the case of Kosovo China also presented it’s “deep concern”, without however giving its support to the separatist cause.


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