Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

The perils of multilateralism


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- \Multilateral engagement vs. bilateral engagement


At a time when the world is trying to grapple with the impact of unprecedented problems which arose in the first two decades of the 21st century, the various intergovernmental organisations and groupings, which are undergoing fundamental changes, may not be fertile places for building peace.

Contradiction in the BRICS

  • The 14th virtual BRICS summit hosted by China (June 23-24) was a clear attempt by China to hijack the grouping, going by a blueprint it has prepared for the new world order.
  • Not a political grouping: BRICS was not meant to be a political grouping when the acronym, BRIC, was coined by Goldman Sachs economist Jim O’Neill in 2001.
  • Economic grouping: Seeing the possibility of developing a non-western global economic system, China welcomed the idea of BRICS as the nucleus of a new economic grouping and invested energy and resources in building it.
  •  Two permanent members of the Security Council together with three aspirants to permanent membership underscored the contradictions in composition.
  • No support for permanent membership: The fundamental question of support for the three countries to secure permanent membership was fossilised on China’s position that the role of the developing countries should be enhanced, implying that there shall be no expansion of the permanent membership of the Security Council.
  • But the grouping focused on possibilities of cooperation among them by developing institutions such as the New Development Bank, the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement and cooperation in certain sectors.
  • India-China relations: The entire fragile framework of limited cooperation was shattered with the bloodshed at Galwan, when China unilaterally sought to alter the situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • China showed no enthusiasm to bring India into the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) even after India met the criteria of a liberalised economy.
  • Expansion for friends: The way China brought in 13 like-minded countries through the back door for a high-level dialogue on global development smacked of unfair means to expand the group with their friends.

What was achieved by India at G7 meeting

  • India’s presence at G7 meetings are not rare and Germany invited the India to attend the G7 summit in Bavaria.
  • The G7 made its own statement on the Ukraine war on expected lines and India was only involved in other issues such as environment, energy, climate, food security, health, gender equality and democracy.
  • Since it was a war summit, it did not produce any results on other major issues.
  • Curtailing energy supplies from Russia would hurt Germany, France, Japan and others, but they could not get any exemption.
  • India’s gain has been the opportunity it got to interact with world leaders, though it was tinged with the disappointment that India, as a Quad member, did not condemn Russia’s action in Ukraine.


Multilateral negotiations will be increasingly difficult in the present chaotic global situation. It is only by working bilaterally with potential allies that India can attain the status of a pole in the new world with steadfast friends and followers.

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