From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : NA
Mains level : India's role in present International relations
- As the great powers get at each other’s throats, the prospects for multilateral agreements have diminished. On both the economic and political fronts, the conflict among the major powers has sharpened. That makes India’s chairmanship of G20 more challenging.
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Historical understanding of major global events
- Major wars and rebalancing: Major wars have always reshaped great power relations and rearranged the international system. Russia’s war against Ukraine will be no exception.
- First world war: The First World War saw the collapse of the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and the Russian empires. It also helped the Bolsheviks in Russia form the Soviet Union, gave birth to new nations in Europe, and accelerated the rise of Asian nationalism.
- The Second World War: Hastened the demise of European colonialism and heralded the rise of the United States and the Soviet Union as the superpowers. Washington and Moscow managed an armed peace in a divided Europe during the Cold War. The process of decolonization saw the birth of a number of new nations in Asia and Africa.
- The Cold War: It led to the collapse of the Soviet Union, undid its sphere of influence in East and Central Europe and led to the rise of the unipolar moment. The era of massive economic interdependence that followed the Cold War saw the rapid rise of China and a slower but definitive emergence of India as a major power.
How Russia and China are colluding to change regional and global world order?
- Asserting themselves against US: Moscow and Beijing, which were willing to acquiesce in the unipolar moment in the 1990s, began to assert themselves against the US-led international order in the 21st century. Europe focused on strengthening its economic and political integration, and sought greater strategic autonomy from the United States.
- Apparent decline of USA: As they drew steadily closer over the last decade, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping bet that the apparent American decline was real and irreversible. That emboldened Putin to fancy his chances in ending Ukraine’s sovereignty.
- China backed Russia against Europe: The seeming political disarray in the West also convinced Xi to back Putin’s attempt to reorder European regional security order. The partnership without limits and no forbidden areas of cooperation was unveiled less than three weeks before Putin invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
Outcome of Russia’s failed attempt to capture Ukraine
- Only option is diplomacy: As the costs of war mount, the case for diplomacy will gain ground in 2023. While both sides talk about peace, they are also gearing up to fight through the harsh winter. Bridging that gulf between Russian and Ukrainian negotiating positions will occupy diplomacy in 2023.
- Weaker Russia: Whatever the nature of the eventual settlement, Russia will come out weaker from this military misadventure. Putin’s attempts to eliminate Ukraine as an independent nation and roll back the eastward expansion of NATO have backfired. The war has consolidated Ukraine as a nation and NATO has expanded to include Sweden and Finland.
- Self-defense Inability of Europe: The war has also demonstrated Europe’s inability to defend itself against Russia despite the EU’s economy being 10 times larger than that of Russia. But for now, and the near term, Europe will remain dependent on the US to defend it against an expansionist Russia. While Europe is weaker, trans-Atlantic NATO has become stronger.
- US industries are winning: The US is emerging as a big winner from the Ukraine war. American oil companies are raking it in from high energy prices. US weapons like the HIMARS and its high technology companies like SpaceX with its Starlin satellite system and Palantir with its algorithms have actively shaped the battlefield in favour of Ukraine, the underdog in the war. Far more consequential is the fact that without being directly involved in the fight, the US is influencing the direction of the war and has the most leverage in defining the terms of peace in Ukraine.
Impact of Chinese and Russian aggression on Mid-power countries
- US as reliable partner: Thanks to the overreach of Putin and Xi, the US has become a valuable partner for the middle powers at the receiving end of Russian and Chinese bullying.
- Eyeopener for Germany and Japan: Russian expansionism in Europe and Chinese aggressiveness in Asia have compelled Germany in Europe and Japan in Asia to boost their defence spending.
- Regional security Policy: Poland in Europe and Australia and South Korea in Asia have embarked on ambitious regional security policies.
What should be the approach of India?
- India should rework its status: India that long relied on Russia to provide a regional balance of power will have to rework its great power sums. This should not be too hard, given India’s improving relations with the US and Europe and its focus on diversifying its defence partnerships.
- Boosting the domestic capabilities: Delhi, however, will have to move much faster in developing the national capabilities and international partnerships to deter China’s aggressive actions on the border and balance Beijing’s power in the Indo-Pacific. Delhi certainly can’t take for granted that its current economic and political advantages will endure.
- Prevent the breakdown of multilateral system: Finally, it is unlikely the world will return to the kind of multilateralism we got used to since the 1990s. India’s G20 leadership would be a success if it can prevent the complete breakdown of the multilateral system and generate major power consensus on a few issues.
- India should take the advantage of chaotic world order to strengthen itself. Indigenous military capabilities, double digit economic growth and securing core foreign policy interest should be the top priorities for India.
Q. Major wars in world have often culminated into rebalancing of international politics. Comment. What should be the India’s approach towards new emerging global order in the aftermath of Russia-Ukraine war?
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