Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Ukraine War Impact on Global Politics and India’s Diplomatic Agenda


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: global and regional groupings involving India

Mains level: Ukraine war, impact, strategic issues and India's diplomatic agenda


Central Idea

  • The war in Ukraine has had a ripple effect on global political and financial systems, leading to shortages of essential commodities and rising prices. The conflict is rooted in Putin’s revanchist claims that Ukraine is an inalienable part of Russia’s history, culture, and spiritual space. On the other hand, Putin accuses the US and Europe of violating their assurance to Gorbachev that NATO would not advance eastward. The crisis poses a dilemma for India, which must balance its partnerships with Russia and China in the BRICS and SCO formats while maintaining strategic autonomy.

Two Essential Facets of the Conflict?

  • Putin’s Assertion of Russia’s Dominance: Vladimir Putin argues that Ukraine is not a sovereign nation and that it is an inalienable part of Russia’s history, culture, and spiritual space. He makes revanchist claims to camouflage Russia’s quest for dominance. Such claims are echoed in China’s Nine-dash line in the South China Sea, its occupation of India’s Aksai Chin, and blatant claims on Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Alleged Violation of NATO’s Assurance: Putin accuses the US and Europe of bad faith, citing the assurance given to a worried Gorbachev that NATO would advance not an inch eastward. This solemn undertaking was allegedly violated when NATO enlisted 10 former Warsaw Pact members in the next decade. With Finland as the latest entrant, NATO is now 31-strong, and Russia feels truly cornered.

Impact of the war in Ukraine on global political and financial systems

  • Shortages of Essential Commodities: Ukraine is a key contributor of grain, edible oil, and fertilizers to the world’s supply chains, and Russia is a major exporter of natural gas and crude oil. The war has disrupted the production and transportation of these commodities, leading to shortages and rising prices.
  • Falling Stock Markets: The war in Ukraine has caused a decline in global stock markets as investors become increasingly nervous about the economic impact of the conflict.
  • Public Discontent and Political Upheaval: The shortages of essential commodities and rising prices have led to public discontent and even political upheaval in some countries. For example, in India, rising fuel prices have led to widespread protests and political unrest.
  • Realignment of Global Alliances: The war in Ukraine has led to a realignment of global alliances as countries seek alternate sources of food, energy, commodities, and arms. This has resulted in a polarisation of the global community and realignments in diplomatic relations.
  • Economic Sanctions: The international community has imposed economic sanctions on Russia in response to its actions in Ukraine, which have had a significant impact on the Russian economy.
  • Threat of Nuclear War: The conflict in Ukraine has raised concerns about the possibility of a nuclear war, particularly given Putin’s reckless nuclear sabre-rattling.

What is the Dilemma for India?

  • India’s Engagement with Russia and China: India is engaged with Russia and China in various multilateral forums, including the BRICS format and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). At the same time, India is partnering with the US in the Quad and Malabar groupings. The conflict in Ukraine has created a complex situation for India as it seeks to maintain strategic autonomy while engaging with multiple partners.
  • Security Environment: India’s security environment is of paramount concern, given the recent Poonch ambush and persistent cross-border terrorism by the Pakistan army-ISI combine. In addition, there is stonewalling of Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh’s demarche about the violation of existing agreements by his Chinese counterpart, Li Shangfu.
  • Lack of Defense Technology: India is a nuclear-weapon state and space power with the world’s fourth-largest military. However, the lackadaisical performance of its military-industrial complex has rendered it abjectly import-dependent for weaponry. India seeks to promote its atmanirbharta (self-reliance) policy, but technology has long gestation periods, and India needs to acquire defense technology from its partners.

How Quad and Malabar Groupings can help India? 

  • Convergence of strategic interests: The Quad and Malabar groupings represent a convergence of strategic interests between India and the US, which can help India strengthen its security and diplomatic ties with the US, Japan, and Australia.
  • Military-diplomatic purpose: These forums serve a useful military-diplomatic purpose, allowing India to deepen its military cooperation with the US and other Quad members, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Power-balancing: India needs to accord priority to power-balancing on its diplomatic agenda, and the Quad and Malabar Groupings can play a significant role in this regard. India can leverage these groupings to balance China’s growing influence in the region.
  • Technology acquisition: India is abjectly import-dependent for weaponry and needs to acquire advanced technologies to address its security concerns. The Quad and Malabar Groupings can help India access advanced military technologies from the US, Japan, and Australia, which can enhance India’s defense capabilities.

Facts for prelims

Initiative Objective Countries Involved Key Features
Quad Strengthen security and promote economic growth in the Indo-Pacific region India, United States, Japan, Australia Regular high-level meetings, joint military exercises, cooperation on maritime security, infrastructure development, and technology transfer
AUKUS Strengthen security in the Indo-Pacific region through advanced military technology sharing and cooperation United States, United Kingdom, Australia Joint development and sharing of advanced military technologies, including nuclear-powered submarines, and joint military exercises
iCET Promote cooperation on critical and emerging technologies between India and the United States India, United States Cooperation on cutting-edge technologies such as AI, quantum computing, and 5G, with a focus on sharing knowledge, expertise, and best practices

 New US initiatives

  • AUKUS: AUKUS is a trilateral security pact between the US, the UK, and Australia, aimed at enhancing security cooperation and sharing advanced military technologies. While the focus of the pact is primarily on Australia, it can indirectly benefit India by strengthening the US security architecture in the Indo-Pacific region and deterring China’s aggressive behavior. The pact can also lead to the development of new technologies, such as advanced unmanned underwater vehicles, which can enhance India’s maritime security.
  • Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET): The iCET is aimed at boosting cooperation between India and the US in the field of critical and emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and biotechnology. This initiative can help India access cutting-edge technologies and knowledge, which can enhance India’s technological capabilities and address its security concerns.

Way ahead: Self-reliance in defence production and reduce dependence

  • Invest in R&D: India should invest heavily in research and development (R&D) to develop cutting-edge military technologies indigenously. This can help reduce India’s dependence on imports and enhance its military capabilities.
  • Promote Public-Private Partnership (PPP): India can promote PPPs to encourage private sector participation in defence production. This can help bring in much-needed investment, innovation, and expertise into the defence sector, thereby enhancing India’s defence capabilities.
  • Facilitate Technology Transfer: India can facilitate technology transfer from foreign defence manufacturers to domestic firms to enhance their technological capabilities. This can help Indian companies acquire critical technologies and expertise, which can be leveraged to develop advanced military systems indigenously.
  • Focus on Export: India should focus on promoting defence exports to enhance its defence manufacturing base and generate much-needed revenue. This can help reduce the cost of domestic production and make Indian defence products globally competitive.


  • India needs to navigate the conflict in Ukraine deftly to maintain its strategic autonomy while balancing its partnerships with Russia and China. India must prioritize power-balancing and technology acquisition on its diplomatic agenda and focus on building self-reliance in defense production.

Mains Question

Q. The war in Ukraine has had a ripple effect on global political and financial systems. In this backdrop highlight the dilemma for India and discuss how Quad and Malabar Groupings along with US initiatives help India on Defence and strategic issues ?

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India’s role in Russia-Ukraine war

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