Even as Xi Jinping tries to improve China’s global image in order to boost his chances of grabbing a third term in power, the commitments that his country has made in this regard over the last few months have the potential to worsen the Asian country’s ‘friendly’ relations with Russia, a media report said.

President Xi will have to face Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the BRICS Summit in June. The Chinese are saved from the embarrassment of having to host the Indian head of government in Beijing even as New Delhi accuses them of illegally holding on to Indian territory as the Indian PM will be attending the meeting virtually, Tibet Press reported.

Still, when the BRICS nations discuss the Russia-Ukraine conflict, all eyes will be on China as China’s Ladakh incursion is similar to the Russia-Ukraine situation in the sense that both amount to blatant disrespect for the sovereignty of the countries they intrude into, the report said.

The BRICS nations would also want to hear from Russia – a member of the organisation – on when the conflict might end, the report further said, adding, that New Delhi has already reminded Moscow of the ‘New Delhi Declaration’ of BRICS.

We underscore the inadmissibility of the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations,” the declaration read.

As the BRICS chair, China will be in a tricky position. Will it defend Russia or question the Ukraine invasion? The New Delhi Declaration is as valid for China as it is for Russia. And there will not be enough wriggling room as all the leaders would be physically or virtually present, the report said.

As it is, China is aware it is the only BRICS member that has not yet spoken to Russia to resolve the dispute through dialogue and diplomacy, the report added.

Another concern for China’s image has been India’s refusal to attend the BRICS summit in person.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is said to have explored the possibility of an in-person BRICS Summit when he met his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar on March 25. But India politely refused to attend it in person. That is seen as a tacit reminder of China’s adamance over vacating Ladakh, the report said.

There is also pressure on China from Europe. NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg a few days ago called on Beijing to “clearly condemn” Russia’s war in Ukraine.