From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : NA
Mains level : New Eurasia opportunities and challenges for India
- Japan, which invented the contemporary geopolitical idea of the Indo-Pacific, is now well on its way to changing the way we think about the relationship between Asia and Europe. In his swing through Europe last week, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s message was simple, the security of Europe and the Indo-Pacific is indivisible.
How Japan shaped the idea of Indo-pacific?
- Japan is not alone for Indo-pacific anymore: Building on the ideas of his predecessor, the late Shinzo Abe, Kishida is determined to build strong military partnerships with Europe. Together Japan, South Korea and Australia are bridging the divide between Asia and Europe long seen as separate geopolitical theatres.
- South Korea raising profile in Europe: South Korea, which does not always see eye to eye with Japan, is also joining the party by raising its profile in Europe. for example, Seoul, is selling major weapons platforms in Poland.
- Australia eager to bring Europe in Indo pacific: Australia, which has joined the US and UK in the AUKUS arrangement, is equally eager to bring Europe into the Indo-Pacific.
- Accelerated by Ukraine war: This process has been accelerated by Russia’s war in Ukraine and the alliance between Moscow and Beijing.
The idea of Eurasia
- Many used it as a neutral term: The idea of Eurasia is not new, many used it as a neutral term to describe the vast landmass that connected Europe and Asia.
- Separate political spheres: Despite continental continuity, Europe and Asia emerged as separate political and cultural spheres over the millennia.
- Russia as European and Asian: Russia, which straddles this space, saw itself as both a European and Asian power but had trouble becoming a part of either. When post-Soviet Russia’s effort to integrate with the West soured in the 2000s, it developed Eurasia and Greater Eurasia as new geopolitical constructs.
- Putin’s Eurasian strategy: Consolidating the former Soviet space, restoring influence in Central Europe, building a strong alliance with China, and limiting Western influence in the continental heartland became part of Putin’s Eurasian strategy.
- Altering geopolitical dynamics: Well before Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol turned to Europe, it was Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin who altered the geopolitical dynamic in Eurasia.
- Alliance without limits: Days before he ordered his armies into Ukraine, Putin travelled to Beijing last February to sign an agreement declaring an alliance without limits and no forbidden areas.
- China’s tilt towards Russia: China, which had made a largely successful effort to cultivate Europe since the 1990s, deliberately avoided taking sides in Europe’s conflicts with Russia. But on the eve of the Ukraine war, Xi chose to tilt towards Moscow by blaming NATO for the crisis in Ukraine.
- New kind of Eurasian alliance: Together, Putin and Xi unveiled a Eurasian alliance that they might have hoped would deliver the long-awaited coup de grace to the global hegemony of the West. What it did instead was to not only strengthen the Western alliance in Europe but also provide the basis for a new kind of Eurasia an alliance between China’s East Asian neighbours and Russia’s West European neighbours.
- For India, the rise of Eurasia is making it harder to ride on two boats at the same time: Until now, India could easily hunt with the maritime coalition the Quad in the Indo-Pacific and run at the same time with the continental coalitions led by Russia and China.
- US Europe and Japan on the one hand and China, Russia on the other: The conflict between the US, Europe, and Japan on the one hand and China and Russia on the other is now acute and shows no signs of immediate amelioration.
- India’s security challenge on Himalayan frontier: On the downside, then, India’s mounting security challenges from China on the Himalayan frontier and the tightening embrace between Moscow and Beijing will mean the shadow over India’s continental strategy will become darker in the days ahead.
- Strategic capabilities in partnership: On the upside, the possibilities for strengthening India’s strategic capabilities in partnership with the US and Europe as well as Japan, South Korea and Australia have never been stronger.
Opportunities for India may include
- Economic cooperation: Increased economic cooperation and trade between India and countries in Europe and Asia
- India’s larger role in global affairs: The potential for India to play a larger role in regional and global affairs as a result of increased connectivity and cooperation
- To address security concerns in Indo-Pacific: Opportunities for India to strengthen its ties with Japan and other countries in the region to address security concerns in the Indo-Pacific
- Japan’s strategy of promoting greater connectivity and cooperation between Europe and Asia could present both opportunities and challenges for India in terms of economic cooperation and geopolitical influence. India will have to carefully navigate and balance its relationships with various countries and groups in the region to maximize the opportunities and minimize the challenges.
Q. Japan is now well on its way to changing the way we think about the relationship between Asia and Europe. In this backdrop discuss opportunities and challenges for India.