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Space station: implications of the China-Russia relationships

The announcement by China and Russia to work together towards the development of a space station will have ripple effects in the international political balance. The Chinese newspaper South China Post reported that the two countries were to collaborate for joint space exploration including work on satellites as well. The relationship between the two countries is based on a give and take system between Russian deep space expertise and the Chinese funding.

Space is the new area where states are investing heavily and venturing into ‘owning’ the domain. Thus, this announcement raises eyebrows for states across the world. China has been on the grey list for many countries of the world. Thus this move towards development in a new sector is not good news at all. The US will not be at ease with the growing affinity between Russia and China. It is not encouraging for India too who has had a historical past with Russia and a love-hate relationship with China. Any modernisation or similar alliances between the two will not be taken lightly.  

The threats that the development poses are: fear of closer relationship between the former allies US and Russia. It will mean dominance of the communist club on issues related to space laws. It also is an uneasy situation since the space is also a domain for increasing advances in defence, artificial intelligence as well as surveillance. Space is a territory which can easily be mis used for strategic attacks. Countries all over the world are working towards increasing their influence in the space and are exploring opportunities to make it the site for power display. Thus , this agreement is a source of concern.

Both Russia and China do not follow the political systems as advocated by the US and hence can easily be classified as the ‘other’ group. India and the US might consider taking joint steps to secure their interests. This alliance has opened up avenues for speculations and future group formations with respect to the space programmes.