From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
Mains level : Paper 2- Need for focus on China
The Russian offensive on Ukraine on the night of February 23-34 shocked the world. The trigger for the conflict has been the rise of anti-Russia/Putin and pro-Europe lobby in Ukraine, led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and with the tacit support of the US and the West.
Background of the conflict
- The situation became deeply polarised after battle lines were drawn in 2015, with Ukraine’s breakaway Donbas region seeking a merger with Russia, after Crimea’s unification with the latter.
- Russia has, over the years, quite correctly questioned the relevance of NATO — a grouping of the Cold War era — and its expansion eastwards.
- For instance, NATO included the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries of Georgia and Ukraine, earlier part of the Soviet Union, in its “Partnership for Peace” programme, despite Russian objections.
Implications of war for geopolitics and role of China
- Geopolitics will never be the same, especially with Germany and Japan announcing militarisation initiatives, polarisation in Europe and the strengthening of the anti-US nexus of China- Russia-Turkey-Iran.
- Focus moves away from China: A matter of concern is that once again, the attention of the US and the West has been diverted from China, the main adversary, to a war that should not have taken place.
- Possibility of annexation of Taiwan: In the current conflict, the ineptitude of the US/NATO to support Ukraine with “boots on the ground” is bound to embolden China in its nefarious design to annex Taiwan.
- This could also lead to increased hostility by China in the resolution of land disputes with the neighbouring countries, as well as in the South and East China seas.
Consider the question “With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the geopolitics will never be the same again.”Comment.
For India, the greatest lesson is that it will have to meet the Chinese challenge on its own. There is no likelihood of the US or any other nation getting involved in India’s fight with China. Let us focus on atmanirbharta in all its dimensions.