Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

NATO Expansion & Russia

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NATO

Mains level : Expansion of NATO

After nearly three months of debate within the two countries, Finland and Sweden have formally applied for membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

What is NATO?

  • NATO is a military alliance established by the North Atlantic Treaty (also called the Washington Treaty) of April 4, 1949.
  • It sought to create a counterweight to Soviet armies stationed in Central and Eastern Europe after World War II.
  • Its original members were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • NATO has spread a web of partners, namely Egypt, Israel, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland and Finland.

Expansion of NATO: Transforming Europe

  • The war in Ukraine has already changed the geopolitics of Europe and the world.
  • The admission of Finland and Sweden to NATO would bring about a transformation in the continent’s security map by giving NATO a contiguous long frontier in western Russia.
  • Finland and Russia share a 1,300-km border — and doubling it from the present 1,200 km, parts of it in northern Norway, Latvia and Estonia, and Poland and Lithuania.
  • In addition, Sweden’s island of Gotland in the middle of the Baltic Sea would give NATO a strategic advantage.
  • Furthermore, when Sweden and Finland join NATO, the Baltic Sea — Russia’s gateway to the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean — would be ringed entirely by NATO members.

Why Nordic countries are willing to join NATO?

  • Although the debate over joining NATO was ongoing in both countries for nearly three decades, Russia’s annexation of Crimea pushed both towards NATO’s “open door” policy.
  • Still, there was little political consensus in either country, especially in Sweden where the Social Democrats have long been against the idea.
  • However, February 24 changed everything the date on which Russia invaded Ukraine.

A knee jerk reaction?

  • If Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was meant to deter NATO’s eastward expansion, the war has had the opposite effect.
  • If admitted, Sweden and Finland will become its 31st and 32nd members.

Russian response

  • Back in March, Russia had evoked a threatening response to take retaliatory measures by stationing its nuclear and hypersonic weapons close to the Baltic Sea.
  • Russia denounced the problems with Finland and Sweden but the NATO’s expansion at the expense of these countries does not pose a direct threat to us.
  • But the expansion of military infrastructure into this territory will certainly provoke their response, warned Mr Putin.
  • Sweden had already said it would not allow NATO bases or nuclear weapons on its territory.

Hurdles for Finland, Sweden

  • At the moment the main obstacle to their applications in Turkey, a member since 1952 and which has NATO’s second-largest army after the US.
  • Turkish president Erdogan has objected to their applications on the ground that the two countries had provided safe haven to the leaders of the Kurdish group PKK.
  • Many Kurdish and other exiles have found refuge in Sweden over the past decades.
  • PKK is an armed movement fighting for a separate Kurdistan, comprising Kurdish areas in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria.
  • Neither of these countries have a clear, open attitude towards terrorist organisation.

What could Turkey gain?

  • Turkey is expected to seek to negotiate a compromise deal to seek action on Kurdish groups.
  • Erdogan could also seek to use Sweden and Finland’s membership to wrest concessions from the United States and other allies.
  • Turkey wants to return to the US-led F-35 fighter jet program — a project it was kicked out of following its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems.
  • Alternatively, Turkey is looking to purchase a new batch of F-16 fighter jets and upgrade its existing fleet.

How does this affect Turkey’s image in the West?

  • Turkey is reinforcing an image that is blocking the alliance’s expansion for its own profit.
  • It also risks damaging the credit it had earned by supplying Ukraine with the Bayraktar TB2 armed drones that became an effective weapon against Russian forces.

Is Turkey trying to appease Russia?

  • Turkey has built close relations with both Russia and Ukraine and has been trying to balance its ties with both.
  • It has refused to join sanctions against Russia — while supporting Ukraine with the drones that helped deny Russia air superiority.

 

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

A war that is shrinking India’s geopolitical options

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- How Ukraine war is reducing India's options

Context

What was initially assumed in New Delhi to be a quick confrontation between Russia and Ukraine, the war in Europe is now raging on with no end in sight, and with its long-term implications yet unknown.

Why Ukraine war may reduce India’s options

  • For several weeks during late March and April, it seemed as though the Ukraine war presented a number of geopolitical options for New Delhi to choose from.
  • War may limit India’s options: Instead of enhancing New Delhi’s ability to make strategic choices in its broader region, the Ukraine war may actually limit the number of options available to New Delhi for at least three reasons.
  • 1]Absence of Russia for balancing purposes: Russia as a key strategic partner is no longer available to India for balancing purposes.
  • 2] Increased Chinese influence in the region:  Russia’s sudden absence from the Asian balance of power equations has further enhanced Chinese influence in the region.
  • By the time the war ends, whatever may be the shape of the global balance of power, the regional balance of power would have irretrievably shifted in Beijing’s favour.
  • 3] Indo-Pacific region moving out of focus: Given that the United States and its western partners are more interested on the Ukraine theatre today, their focus on China is already taking a hit, if not yet on the Indo-Pacific.

India’s dilemmas in medium to long term

1] Managing China

  • Weakened US influence in South Asia: While the Ukraine war has strengthened and revitalised the U.S.-led military and political coalition globally, it is bound to weaken the American influence in the Southern Asian region.
  • China is the biggest beneficiary of the U.S./western retrenchment from the region which gives it a free hand in it.
  • Russia not available: For New Delhi, Moscow is no longer available for its pursuit of its regional interests, and the U.S.’s ability to produce favourable geopolitical outcomes for India in the region is shrinking as well.
  • While there is little doubt that in the longer run, a war-fatigued and weakened Russia will become a junior partner to China, India today does have an opportunity to get Moscow to nudge Beijing to stop its irredentism on the LAC.
  • If the Chinese side, taking advantage of the Ukraine distraction, heats up the LAC, India would have to turn to the West and the U.S. for support (political, diplomatic, intelligence, etc.).
  • This would invariably hurt Russian interests. 
  • Russia, it is important that two of its Asian friends — China and India — do not clash at least while the war is still on.
  • While this may be a useful way to manage the Chinese aggression on the LAC in the short term, this will depend on how China views its dynamics with Russia and that of Russia with India.
  • Herein lies the challenge for India.
  • India’s engagement with Indo-Pacific region: If China were to stabilise the LAC at the nudging of Russia, it would also expect India to go slow on the Indo-Pacific, something India can ill-afford to do.
  • Inability to exploit contradictions: While, under normal circumstances, India could have utilised the many inherent contradictions between Moscow and Beijing, the Ukraine war has suspended those contradictions.

2] How Ukraine war affected India’s north-western continental strategy

  • India’s north-western continental strategy, in particular towards Afghanistan and Central Asia, too will get complicated due to the Ukraine war.
  • For over a year now, the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan is calm and the violence in Kashmir has come down.
  • More pertinently, New Delhi’s presence from Afghanistan has entirely disappeared.
  • So, it appears that the calm in Kashmir and along the LoC is a quid pro quo for the Indian withdrawal from Afghanistan.
  • If this is a bargain New Delhi accepts, it will not only mean giving up its strategic interests in Afghanistan but also reducing its engagement in the Central Asian region as well at a time China is making feverish inroads into the region, right in the backyard of the Russian sphere of influence.
  • Had Moscow not been caught in the Ukraine war, it would have fended off Beijing’s attempts to take over its backyard (in one sense, China is doing to Russia using economic means what the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has been doing to Russia using military means).
  • During the December summit, India and Russia had decided on a number of initiatives focusing on Central Asia and Afghanistan.
  • They are unlikely to be revived anytime soon, ceding further ground to China and Pakistan.

Conclusion

The combined geopolitical impact of the ill-timed U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Russia’s Ukraine war, and the rapid expansion of Chinese influence goes to show how New Delhi’s geopolitical choices have suddenly shrunk due to the Ukraine war.

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

From neutral to NATO: Why Finland joining the alliance matters

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

Mains level : Russian contention with NATO

Earlier reluctant, Finland is now hurtling to join NATO making a monumental shift for a nation with a long history of wartime neutrality and staying out of military alliances.

What is NATO?

  • NATO is a military alliance established by the North Atlantic Treaty (also called the Washington Treaty) of April 4, 1949.
  • It sought to create a counterweight to Soviet armies stationed in Central and Eastern Europe after World War II.
  • Its original members were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • NATO has spread a web of partners, namely Egypt, Israel, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland and Finland.

Why was it founded?

Ans. Communist sweep in Europe post-WWII and rise of Soviet dominance

  • After World War II in 1945, Western Europe was economically exhausted and militarily weak, and newly powerful communist parties had arisen in France and Italy.
  • By contrast, the Soviet Union had emerged from the war with its armies dominating all the states of central and Eastern Europe.
  • By 1948 communists under Moscow’s sponsorship had consolidated their control of the governments of those countries and suppressed all non-communist political activity.
  • What became known as the Iron Curtain, a term popularized by Winston Churchill, had descended over central and Eastern Europe.

Ideology of NATO

  • NATO ensures that the security of its European member countries is inseparably linked to that of its North American member countries.
  • It commits the Allies to democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law, as well as to the peaceful resolution of disputes.
  • It also provides a unique forum for dialogue and cooperation across the Atlantic.

What is Article 5?

  • Article 5 was a key part of the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty, or Washington Treaty, and was meant to offer a collective defence against a potential invasion of Western Europe.
  • It states: (NATO members) will assist the party or parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
  • However, since then, it has only been invoked once, soon after the 9/11 attack in the United States.

Why Finland wishes to join now?

  • The country, so far, has stayed away from joining such alliances as it always wanted to maintain cordial relations with its neighbour Russia.
  • For a long time, the idea of not joining NATO or getting too close to the West was a matter of survival for the Finns.
  • However, the change in perception and overwhelming support to join NATO came about following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • NATO membership would strengthen the country’s security and defence system.

Was this a long time coming?

  • For Finns, events in Ukraine bring a haunting sense of familiarity.
  • The Soviets had invaded Finland in late 1939 and despite the Finnish army putting up fierce resistance for more than three months, they ended up losing 10 per cent of their territory.
  • The country adopted to stay non-aligned during the cold war years.
  • However, insecurities started growing since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 as Finland brought back conscription and military spending went up.

What about Sweden?

  • Sweden is likely to apply for membership after Finland’s final call.
  • If Finland joins, Sweden will be the only Nordic non-member of NATO.
  • Now, unlike Finland, whose policy stance was a matter of survival, Sweden has been opposed to joining the organisation for ideological reasons.

What would a membership mean and will it benefit NATO as well?

  • NATO has shown eagerness about Finland and Sweden’s memberships.
  • Usually, becoming an official NATO member can take up to a year as it requires the approval of all existing member states.
  • Finland’s geographical location plays in its favour as once it becomes a member, the length of borders Russia shares with NATO would double.
  • This would also strengthen the alliance’s position in the Baltic Sea.

How have Russia and other countries reacted?

  • Russia’s foreign ministry has said that they will be forced to take military steps if the membership materialises.
  • Russia has warned that this may prompt Moscow to deploy nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania.

 

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Russia officially quits the International Space Station (ISS)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ISS

Mains level : Not Much

Russia is responding to the Western sanctions. It has decided to walk out of the International Space Station.

International Space Station

  • The ISS was launched in 1998 as part of joint efforts by the U.S., Russia, Japan, Canada and Europe.
  • The idea of a space station originated in the 1984 State of the Union address by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
  • The space station was assembled over many years, and it operates in low-earth orbit.
  • Since its inception, it has served as a laboratory suspended in space and has aided multiple scientific and technological developments.
  • The ISS was originally built to operate for 15 years.

Why was ISS launched?

  • A space station permits quantum leaps in research in science, communications, and in metals and lifesaving medicines which could be manufactured only in space.
  • ISS has consistently maintained human presence for the past 21 years, providing astronauts with sophisticated technologies for scientific research.

What is Russia’s role in maintaining the ISS?

  • The ISS is built with the co-operation of scientists from five international space agencies — NASA of the U.S., Roscosmos of Russia, JAXA of Japan, Canadian Space Agency and the European Space Agency.
  • Each agency has a role to play and a share in the upkeep of the ISS.
  • Both in terms of expense and effort, it is not a feat that a single country can support.
  • Russia’s part in the collaboration is the module responsible for making course corrections to the orbit of the ISS.
  • They also ferry astronauts to the ISS from the Earth and back.
  • Until SpaceX’s dragon spacecraft came into the picture the Russian spacecrafts were the only way of reaching the ISS and returning.

 

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

India, Europe and the Russian complication

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- India's engagement with Europe and factors shaping it

Context

The re-election of Emmanuel Macron as the president of France on Sunday has sent a sigh of relief across Europe and North America. Delhi too is pleased with the return of Macron, who laid a strong foundation for India’s strategic partnership with France.

Why France election matters to the regional and domestic order in Europe

  • Unlike the Soviet Union, which sought to shape European politics though left-wing parties, Russia today influences European politics through right-wing parties.
  • Victory for Marine Le Pen, Macron’s opponent, would have dramatically complicated the geopolitics of Europe.
  • Le Pen, like so many other right-wing leaders in Europe, has close ties to Vladimir Putin.
  • Le Pen’s victory would have not only altered France’s international trajectory, but also shaken the EU to its political core.

Three factors shaping the transformation of India’s ties with Europe

  • Russia’s threat to the regional and domestic order in Europe is among multiple factors shaping Delhi’s intensifying engagement with Brussels.
  • Three major external factors are facilitating the transformation of India’s ties with Europe.

1] Russian Question

  • For India, a normal relationship between Russia and the West would have been ideal.
  • But Russia’s confrontation with the West comes during India’s rapidly expanding economic and political ties to Europe and America.
  • Delhi might be sentimental about India’s historic Russian connection but it is not going to sacrifice its growing ties to the West on that altar.
  • Russia’s declining economic weight and growing international isolation begins to simplify India’s choices.
  • During the last few weeks, Delhi has insisted that its silence is not an endorsement of Russian aggression.
  • India’s position has continued to evolve.
  • Delhi’s repeated emphasis on respecting the territorial integrity of states is a repudiation of Russia’s unacceptable aggression.
  • Meanwhile, geographic proximity and economic complementarity have tied Europe even more deeply to Russia.
  • The EU’s annual trade with Russia at around $260 billion is massive in comparison to India’s $10 billion.
  • Putin’s reckless invasion of Ukraine has compelled Europe to embark on a costly effort to disconnect from Russia.
  • The war in Ukraine has certainly presented a major near-term problem that needs to be managed by Delhi and Brussels.

2] China Question

  •  Moscow has been deepening ties with Beijing for more than two decades triggering many anxieties in Delhi.
  •  In February, Putin travelled to Beijing to announce a partnership “without limits”.
  • India has no option but to manage the consequences of the Russian decision.
  • In the last two decades, China has emerged as a great power and now presents a generational challenge for Indian policymakers.
  • That challenge has been made harder by Putin’s alliance with Xi Jinping.
  • As Delhi strives to retain a reasonable relationship with Moscow, Europe emerges as an important partner in letting India cope with the China challenge.
  •  Thanks to the growing problems of doing business with Xi’s China, Beijing’s geopolitical alliance with Moscow, and the rapid deterioration of Sino-US relations, Brussels is ready to invest serious political capital in building purposeful strategic ties with India.

3] American Question

  • Until recently it appeared that Europe’s calls for “strategic autonomy” from the US were in sync with India’s own worldview.
  • But the Ukraine crisis has underlined the US’s centrality in securing Europe against Russia.
  • In Asia, Chinese assertiveness has brought back the US as a critical factor in shaping peace and security.
  • Washington wants a strong Europe taking greater responsibility for its own security; it would like Delhi to play a larger role in Asia and become a credible provider of regional security.
  • Above all, America wants India and Europe to build stronger ties with each other.

Conclusion

For the first time since independence, India’s interests are now aligning with those of Europe. Together, Delhi and Brussels can help reshape Eurasia as well as the Indo-Pacific.

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Places in news: Kuril Islands

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kuril Islands

Mains level : Not Much

Japan has recently described the Kuril Islands (which Japan calls the Northern Territories and Russia as the South Kurils) as being under Russia’s “illegal occupation”.

Note the Islands of Japan in North to South Direction:  Hokkaido, Honshu , Shikoku, and Kyushu

What are the Kuril Islands/ Northern Territories?

  • These are a set of four islands situated between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean near the north of Japan’s northernmost prefecture, Hokkaido.
  • Both Moscow and Tokyo claim sovereignty over them though the islands have been under Russian control since the end of World War II.
  • The Soviet Union had seized the islands at the end of World War II and by 1949 had expelled its Japanese residents.
  • Tokyo claims that the disputed islands have been part of Japan since the early 19th century.

Why in news?

  • This is the first time in about two decades that Japan has used this phrase to describe the dispute over the Kuril Islands.
  • Japan had been using softer language since 2003, saying that the dispute over the islands was the greatest concern in Russia-Japan bilateral ties.

What lies behind the dispute?

  • Japan’s sovereignty over the islands is confirmed by several treaties since 1855.
  • Russia, on the other hand, claims the Yalta Agreement (1945) and the Potsdam Declaration (1945) as proof of its sovereignty.
  • It argues that the San Francisco Treaty of 1951 is legal evidence that Japan had acknowledged Russian sovereignty over the islands.
  • Under Article 2 of the treaty, Japan had “renounced all right, title and claim to the Kuril Islands.”
  • However, Japan argues that the San Francisco Treaty cannot be used here as the Soviet Union never signed the peace treaty.

Continuing the WW2

  • In fact, Japan and Russia are technically still at war because they have not signed a peace treaty after World War II.
  • In 1956, during Japanese PM Ichiro Hatoyama’s visit to the Soviet Union, it was suggested that two of the four islands would be returned to Japan once a peace treaty was signed.
  • However, persisting differences prevented the signing of a peace treaty though the two countries signed the Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration, which restored diplomatic relations between the two nations.
  • The Soviet Union later hardened its position, even refusing to recognise that a territorial dispute existed with Japan.
  • It was only in 1991 during Mikhail Gorbachev’s visit to Japan that the USSR recognised that the islands were the subject of a territorial dispute.

Have there been attempts at resolution?

  • Since 1991, there have been many attempts to resolve the dispute and sign a peace treaty.
  • The most recent attempt was under PM Shinzo Abe when joint economic development of the disputed islands was explored.
  • In fact, both countries had agreed to have bilateral negotiations based on the 1956 Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration.
  • Russia was even willing to give back two islands, the Shikotan Island and the Habomai islets, to Japan after the conclusion of a peace treaty as per the 1956 declaration.
  • Japan’s attempt to improve ties with Russia was driven by its need to diversify energy sources and Russia by its need to diversify its basket of buyers and bring in foreign investments.
  • But nationalist sentiments on both sides prevented resolution of the dispute.

Implications for Japan

  • Soon after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Japan made its unhappiness with Russia clear.
  • Japan has been among the most steadfast of Western allies in denouncing Russian aggression and punishing it with sanctions.
  • Japan has probably been spurred by its fears of a Russia-China alliance as Japan itself has territorial disputes and an uneasy history with China.
  • Secondly, Japan might have felt that this is a good opportunity to further isolate Russia and paint it as a “habitual offender” of international law.
  • Finally, Tokyo might have been prompted to take this position as it feels that the invasion of Ukraine proves that getting back the Kuril Islands is a lost cause.

 

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

India can be the fulcrum of the new global order

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Opportunities for India in the wake of Ukraine-Russia conflict

Context

As Mahatma Gandhi’s nation, India must be a committed and relentless apostle of peace and non-violence, both at home and in the world.

How the Russia-Ukraine conflict is reshaping the world order

  • Ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, a paradigm of free societies, frictionless borders and open economies evolved to be the governing order in many nations.
  • This catalysed freer movement of people, goods, services and capital across the world.
  • India too has benefited enormously from being an active participant in this interconnected world, with a tripling of trade (as share of GDP) in the last three decades and providing vast numbers of jobs.
  • Such tight inter-dependence among nations will lead to fewer conflicts and promote peace, was the established wisdom.
  • The Russia-Ukraine conflict has dismantled this wisdom.
  • Mutually beneficial to mutually harmful: If inter-connectedness and trade among nations were mutually beneficial, then it follows that its disruption and blockade will be mutually harmful.
  • Global Village was built on the foundation of advanced transportation networks, cemented with the U.S. dollar as the reserve currency and fenced by integrated payment systems.
  • Any disruption to this delicate balance runs the risk of plunging the ‘Global Village’ into disequilibrium and derailing the lives of all.

Trade opportunity for India

  • Trade with other nations should and will always be an integral cornerstone of India’s economic future.
  • A reversal towards isolationism and protectionism will be foolhardy and calamitous for India.
  • As the western bloc of nations looks to reduce dependence on the Russia-China bloc of nations, it presents newer avenues for India to expand trade.
  • It presents a tremendous opportunity for India to become a large producing nation for the world and a global economic powerhouse.
  • However, to capitalise on these opportunities, India needs free access to these markets, an accepted and established global currency to trade in and seamless trade settlements.

Suggestions for India

1] Bilateral currency agreements are unsustainable

  • The American dollar has emerged as the global trade currency, bestowing an ‘exorbitant privilege’ on the dollar.
  • But a forced and hurried dismantling of this order and replacing it with rushed bilateral local currency arrangements can prove to be more detrimental for the global economy in the longer run.
  • We had an Indian rupee-Russian rouble agreement in the late 1970s and 1980s, when we mutually agreed on exchange rates for trading purposes.
  • Now, with India’s robust external sector, a flourishing trading relationship with many nations and tremendous potential to expand trade, such bilateral arrangements are unsustainable, unwieldy, and perilous.

2] Avoid discounted commodity purchases from Russia

  • In the long run, India stands to gain more from unfettered access to the western bloc markets for Indian exports under the established trading order than from discounted commodities purchased under new bilateral currency arrangements that seek to create a new and parallel global trade structure.
  • It entails a prolonged departure from the established order of dollar-based trade settlement or jeopardises established trading relationships with western bloc markets, it can have longer term implications for India’s export potential.

3] Non-disruptive geo-economic policy

  • India needs not just a non-aligned doctrine for the looming new world order but also a non-disruptive geo-economic policy that seeks to maintain the current global economic equilibrium.
  •  By the dint of its sheer size and scale, India can be both a large producer and a consumer.
  • To best utilise this opportunity, India needs not just cordial relationships with nations on either side of the new divide but also a stable and established global economic environment.

4] Social harmony is a must

  • Just as it is in India’s best interests to balance the current geo-economic equilibrium, it is also imperative for India to maintain its domestic social equilibrium.
  • Social harmony is the edifice of economic prosperity.
  • Fanning mutual distrust, hate and anger among citizens, causing social disharmony is a shameful slide to perdition.

Conclusion

The reshaping and realignment of the world order will be a unique opportunity for India to reassess its foreign policy, economic policy and geo-political strategy and don the mantle of global leadership.

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Russia’s new nuclear missile ‘Sarmat’

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sarmat Missile

Mains level : ICBMs

Amidst stiff resistance from Ukraine in the ongoing war and harsh sanctions imposed by the West, Russia went ahead and tested its new Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Sarmat.

What is Sarmat?

  • The RS-28 Sarmat (NATO name Satan-II) is reported to be able to carry ten or more warheads and decoys
  • It has the capability of firing over either of the earth’s poles with a range of 11,000 to 18,000 km.
  • It is expected to pose a significant challenge to the ground-and-satellite-based radar tracking systems of the western powers, particularly the USA.
  • The ten warheads are Multiple Independently-Targetable Re-entry Vehicles and each has a blast yield of .75 MT.
  • The Sarmat will also be the first Russian missile which can carry smaller hypersonic boost-glide vehicles. These are manoeuvrable and hard to intercept.
  • It is a liquid-fuelled missile as compared to US ICBMs which have moved on to solid fuel systems.

Who is it named after?

  • The Sarmat is named after nomadic tribes that roamed the steppes of present-day Southern Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan in the early medieval period.
  • Sarmatians were highly developed in horsemanship and warfare.
  • It goes on to say that the administrative capabilities and political expertise of Sarmatians contributed to their gaining widespread influence and by the 5th century BC.
  • They held control of the land between the Urals and the Don River.
  • In the 4th century they crossed the Don and conquered the Scythians, replacing them as rulers of almost all of southern Russia by the 2nd century.

Was Russia known to be developing this missile?

  • It was widely known that Russia was developing a new ICBM to replace its older ones.
  • An announcement in this regard was made by Vladimir Putin in 2018 while making his State of the Nation address to the Federal Assembly.
  • He had stated at the time that the first Regiment fully armed with Sarmat ICBM will be operational by the end of 2022.
  • The deteriorating relations between Russia and the Western Powers is said to have given an impetus to its development.

 

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

The war’s many victims

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : World food program

Mains level : Paper 2- Impact of Russia-Ukraine war on the developing and least developed countries

Context

Beyond Ukraine’s borders, far beyond the media spotlight, the war has launched a silent assault on the developing world. This crisis could throw up to 1.7 billion people — over one-fifth of humanity — into poverty, destitution and hunger on a scale not seen in decades.

Impact of the war on the developing world

  • Ukraine and the Russian Federation provide 30 per cent of the world’s wheat and barley, one-fifth of its maize, and over half of its sunflower oil.
  • Together, their grain feeds the poorest and most vulnerable people, providing more than one-third of the wheat imported by 45 African and least-developed countries.
  • At the same time, Russia is the world’s top natural gas exporter, and second-largest oil exporter.
  • But the war is preventing farmers from tending their crops while closing ports, ending grain exports, disrupting supply chains and sending prices skyrocketing.
  • The World Food Programme has warned that it faces the impossible choice of taking from the hungry to feed the starving.
  • It urgently needs $8 billion to support its operations in Yemen, Chad and Niger.
  • But while much of the world has stepped up in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, there is no sign of the same support for the 1.7 billion other potential victims of this war.

The Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance

  • The group aims to develop coordinated solutions to these interlinked crises, with governments, international financial institutions and other key partners.
  • 1] On food, the group is urging all countries to keep markets open, resist hoarding and unjustified and unnecessary export restrictions, and make reserves available to countries at the highest risk of hunger and famine.
  • 2] On energy, the use of strategic stockpiles and additional reserves could help to ease this energy crisis in the short term.
  • But the only medium- and long-term solution is to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy.
  • 3] And on finance, the G20 and international financial institutions must go into emergency mode.
  • They must find ways to increase liquidity and fiscal space, so that governments in developing countries can invest in the poorest and most vulnerable, and in the Sustainable Development Goals.
  •  Social protection, including cash transfers, will be essential to support desperate families through this crisis.
  • But many developing countries with large external debts do not have the liquidity to provide these safety nets.

Conclusion

The only lasting solution to the war in Ukraine and its assault on the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world is peace.

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Why is the Black Sea crucial to Russia?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Black Sea mapping

Mains level : Read the attached story

The sinking of the huge Russian warship Moskva whether due to a Ukrainian missile strike or, as Russia claims, a fire on board — is a serious setback for Russia in the Black Sea.

About Black Sea

  • The famed water body is bound by Ukraine to the north and northwest, Russia and Georgia to the east, Turkey to the south, and Bulgaria and Romania to the west.
  • It links to the Sea of Marmara through the Bosphorus and then to the Aegean through the Dardanelles.

Significance of Black Sea for Russia

  • Domination of the Black Sea region is a geostrategic imperative for Moscow.
  • Black Sea has traditionally been Russia’s warm water gateway to Europe.
  • For Russia, the Black Sea is both a stepping stone to the Mediterranean.
  • It acts as a strategic buffer between NATO and itself.
  • It showcases the Russian power in the Mediterranean and to secure the economic gateway to key markets in southern Europe.
  • The Rhine-Main-Danube canal connects the Black Sea to the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea and the port of Odessa serves as a vital link between Ukraine and the outside world.

Black Sea in the Ukraine war

  • Russia has been making efforts to gain complete control over the Black Sea since the Crimean crisis of 2014.
  • During the ongoing invasion, the domination of the Black Sea has been a major Russian objective, along with the land bridge to connect Russia and Crimea.
  • As such, there have been intense efforts to capture Mariupol, the Sea of Azov port in the breakaway eastern Ukrainian oblast of Donetsk.
  • Mariupol appeared close to falling to the Russians.

Sinking of the Moskva

  • The sinking of the Moskva is believed to be the worst loss in the history of naval warfare.
  • It was sunk by shore-based anti-ship cruise missiles which took advantage of bad weather and used decoy UAV attacks to defeat the ship’s air defence systems.
  • It demonstrates the success of outside-the-box measures adopted by Ukraine in the war.

 

Must answer this PYQ in the comment box:

Q.Consider the following pairs:

Sea Bordering country
1. Adriatic Sea Albania
2. Black Sea Croatia
3. Caspian Sea Kazakhstan
4. Mediterranean Sea Morocco
5. Red Sea Syria

Which of the pair given above are correctly matched? (CSP 2020)

(a) 1, 2 and 4 only

(b) 1, 3 and 4 only

(c) 2 and 5 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

 

 

Post your answers here.
2
Please leave a feedback on thisx

 

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Russia warns against NATO enlargement

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NATO

Mains level : Russian contention with NATO

One of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies warned NATO that if Sweden and Finland joined the US-led military alliance then Russia would have to bolster its defences in the region, including by deploying nuclear weapons.

Why in news?

  • Finland, which shares a 1,300-km border with Russia, and Sweden are considering joining the NATO alliance.

Why do they want to join NATO?

  • The possible accession of Finland and Sweden into NATO to get collective Western security against Russia — would be one of the biggest strategic consequences of the Ukraine war.
  • Finland gained independence from Russia in 1917 and fought two wars against it during Second World War during which it lost some territory to Moscow.
  • Sweden has not fought a war for 200 years and post-war foreign policy has focused on supporting democracy internationally, multilateral dialogue and nuclear disarmament.

What is NATO?

  • NATO is a military alliance established by the North Atlantic Treaty (also called the Washington Treaty) of April 4, 1949.
  • It sought to create a counterweight to Soviet armies stationed in Central and Eastern Europe after World War II.
  • Its original members were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • NATO has spread a web of partners, namely Egypt, Israel, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland and Finland.

Why was it founded?

Ans. Communist sweep in Europe post-WWII and rise of Soviet dominance

  • After World War II in 1945, Western Europe was economically exhausted and militarily weak, and newly powerful communist parties had arisen in France and Italy.
  • By contrast, the Soviet Union had emerged from the war with its armies dominating all the states of central and Eastern Europe.
  • By 1948 communists under Moscow’s sponsorship had consolidated their control of the governments of those countries and suppressed all non-communist political activity.
  • What became known as the Iron Curtain, a term popularized by Winston Churchill, had descended over central and Eastern Europe.

Ideology of NATO

  • NATO ensures that the security of its European member countries is inseparably linked to that of its North American member countries.
  • It commits the Allies to democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law, as well as to the peaceful resolution of disputes.
  • It also provides a unique forum for dialogue and cooperation across the Atlantic.

What is Article 5 and why is it needed?

  • Article 5 was a key part of the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty, or Washington Treaty, and was meant to offer a collective defence against a potential invasion of Western Europe.
  • It states: (NATO members) will assist the party or parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
  • However, since then, it has only been invoked once, soon after the 9/11 attack in the United States.

Why has Article 5 not been invoked this time?

  • The reason is simple: Ukraine is a partner of the Western defence alliance but not a NATO member.
  • As a result, Article 5, or the Collective Defence Pledge, does not apply.
  • While NATO has said it will not be sending troops to Ukraine, it did invoke Article 4, which calls for a consultation of the alliance’s principal decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council.
  • In its history, it has only been activated half a dozen times.
  • But the fact that this time around eight-member nations chose to invoke it was enough to demonstrate the seriousness of the situation at a global level.

What may prompt NATO to invoke Article 5?

  • NATO will invoke Article 5 only if Russia launches a full-blown attack on one of its allies.
  • Some top US officials have warned of the impact of some of Russia’s cyberattacks being felt in NATO countries.
  • When you launch cyberattacks, they don’t recognize geographic boundaries.
  • Some of that cyberattack could actually start shutting down systems in eastern Poland.

But what is NATO’s problem with Russia?

  • Russia has long been opposed to Ukraine’s growing closeness with European institutions, particularly NATO.
  • The former Soviet republic shares borders with Russia on one side, and the European Union on the other.
  • After Moscow launched its attack, the US and its allies were quick to respond, imposing sanctions on Russia’s central bank and sovereign wealth funds.

 

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

BRICS and the creation of a multipolar world

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : SWIFT

Mains level : Paper 2- Implications of Ukraine crisis for BRICS

Context

The current crisis in Ukraine will consolidate BRICS as the group will make further efforts to become a real alternative to the West to create a real multipolar world.

 BRICS’ efforts to change world economic system

  • The group was brought together by geopolitical rather than economic considerations and this can be seen in the strategic interests shared by Russia and China.
  • Inclusion of non-Western states in international financial institutions: BRICS is actively involved in the efforts to change the world economic system by increasing the number of non-Western states in international financial institutes.
  • The BRICS countries decided to create the $100 billion BRICS Development Bank and a reserve currency pool worth over another $100 billion to offer an alternative to countries in the non-Western world when it comes to choosing the sources of funding for development or coping with serious economic crises.

Consequences of Ukraine crisis for BRICS

  •  It demonstrates that the West has not abandoned the idea of a unipolar world and will continue building it up by drawing into its foreign policy orbit issues it calls “international” or even “common to mankind.”
  • Many non-Western states look at this as a new wave of colonialism.
  • This will increase the desire of non-Western countries to enhance their coordination and perhaps the current conflict is already showing signs in this respect.
  • The BRICS states are different in many respects and their disagreements with the West are rooted in different historical and political circumstances.
  • The current crisis in Ukraine will consolidate BRICS as the group will make further efforts to become a real alternative to the West to create a real multipolar world.
  • RIC controls 22 per cent of the global GDP and 16 per cent of global exports of goods and services.
  • The fallout from Russia’s alienation from the G-8 group of nations, raises the prospect that — tactically at least — Russia, India, and China might be playing their own triangular integrationist card within BRICS at Moscow’s initiative.
  • Eurasian integrationist core: This will create a north Eurasian integrationist core within BRICS, whichever way Moscow’s relations with the US and Europe play out.

Implications for India

  • Both the Asian giants — India and China — may stand to reap the “best of both worlds” as the Ukraine imbroglio plays out.
  • Investment: This could mean greater industrial and energy cross investments between Russia and India as well as between Russia and China.
  • Additionally, the proposed arrangement for rupee-ruble cross currency pairing could result in settlement of payments in non-dollar currencies with more countries looking at India’s sovereign Financial Messaging Systems (SFMS), while also remaining connected with a central system like SWIFT.
  • Dedicated payment mechanism: This should also anchor India’s quest to build a dedicated payment mechanism for energy-related payments and settlements as a long-haul measure.
  • This could change the contours of the global payments landscape and benefit the rupee immensely.

Spotlight on India

  • As the war progresses, New Delhi has been receiving a stream of high-profile visitors from around the world.
  • This has included delegations from the US, Australia and Japan, India’s partners in the Quad.
  • The foreign minister of Greece has also been to India and the Israeli prime minister is scheduled to visit soon.
  • Even traditional rival China is making overtures to India at this time, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit.
  • Another suitor is Russia, which is now also becoming a supplier of discounted crude oil to India as Moscow recoils from sanctions enforced by western consumers of its natural gas.

Conclusion

New Delhi is basking in its well-deserved spotlight with well-crafted diplomacy. India could be looking at a new dawn.

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

India condemns atrocities in Bucha, Ukraine

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Definition of War Crimes

Mains level : War crimes and genocides

India condemned the killing of civilians in Bucha, Ukraine, at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) calling for an independent UN inquiry. (However India abstained from blaming Russia for the civilian deaths.)

Note: Such events are of least GS importance. However, one must recognize the severity of such massacres and the imprint that it left on entire humanity. Yes, it is not India’s war, but it is no mean activity for a military superpower to march and annexe a small neighbour.  This topic holds much importance for personality test.

Bucha massacre

  • The grimmest discoveries have been made in a Kyiv suburb called Bucha, a town located about 25 km to the northwest of the capital.
  • More than 300 bodies have been found in the town, some with their hands bound, flesh burned, and shot in the back of the head.
  • Satellite images now available show streets strewn with corpses, and many of the bodies seen by journalists in the past couple of days appear to have lain in the open for weeks.
  • The reports and pictures of corpses wearing civilian clothes, some clutching shopping bags, suggest that ordinary citizens were murdered without provocation, as they went about their daily business.

A no lesser holocaust event

  • The discoveries have drawn comparisons with the killings of civilians in this area during World War II.
  • It reminds of the First Battle of Kyiv (part of Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union that began in June 1941) and the Second Battle of Kyiv (November-December 1943).
  • The Red (Soviet) Army started to push back the Germans from Ukraine, the area around the Ukrainian capital, including Bucha.
  • It saw the “Holocaust by bullets” during which an estimated 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, were shot dead at close range.

A genocide or war crimes?

  • War crimes are defined as “grave breaches” of the Geneva Conventions, agreements signed after World War II that laid down international humanitarian laws during war time.
  • Deliberately targeting civilians amounts to a war crime.
  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague has already opened an investigation into possible war crimes by Russia.
  • The investigation could in theory target even Putin. But it will be difficult to bring Russian defendants to trial or to prove intent.
  • Russia does not recognise the ICC and will likely not cooperate with the investigation.
  • The crimes of genocide are defined by the United Nations Genocide Convention of December 1948.
  • It includes acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”. Genocide is seen as the gravest and most serious of all crimes against humanity.

 

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Who are the Bucharest Nine (B9) Countries?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : B9 Countries

Mains level : Not Much

The envoys to India of nine Eastern European countries called Bucharest Nine jointly wrote to acquaint the Indian public with the basic facts on the ground” about the “premeditated, unprovoked and unjustified Russian aggression in Ukraine”.

What is Bucharest Nine?

  • The “Bucharest Nine” is a group of nine NATO countries in Eastern Europe that became part of the US-led military alliance after the end of the Cold War.
  • The Bucharest Nine or Bucharest Format, often abbreviated as the B9, was founded on November 4, 2015, and takes its name from Bucharest, the capital of Romania.
  • The group was created on the initiative of Klaus Iohannis, who has been President of Romania since 2014, and Andrzej Duda, who became President of Poland in August 2015.

Composition

  • The B9 are, apart from Romania and Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and the three Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
  • All members of the B9 are part of the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
  • All nine countries were once closely associated with the now dissolved Soviet Union, but later chose the path of democracy.
  • Romania, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria are former signatories of the now-dissolved Warsaw Pact military alliance led by the Soviet Union.
  • The other Warsaw Pact countries were the erstwhile Czechoslovakia and East Germany, and Albania. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were part of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

Functions of B9

  • The B9 offers a platform for deepening the dialogue and consultation among the participant allied states, in order to articulate their specific contribution to the ongoing processes across the North-Atlantic Alliance.
  • It works in total compliance with the principles of solidarity and indivisibility of the security of the NATO Member States.

Opposition to Russian expansion

  • The B9 countries have been critical of President Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine since 2014, when the war in the Donbas started and Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula.
  • After the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the B9 met in Warsaw.
  • Ukraine’s President has also appealed to the B9 for defense aid, sanctions, pressure on the aggressor Russia and create one anti-war coalition.

 

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Time for India to redefine its relationship with Russia

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Time to rethink relations with Russia

Context

Russia’s war on Ukraine has decisively shaped international opinion. Indian foreign policy is also going to be affected in a profound manner.

India’s foreign policy conundrum

  • Russia’s attack on Ukraine has put New Delhi in a foreign policy conundrum that will not disappear soon because Russia’s action has changed the global order.
  • India has not directly criticised Moscow’s action.
  • Memories of the historic Indo-Soviet partnership still seem to tip the scales when it comes to India’s vote at the UNSC.
  • Western countries have criticised India’s repeated abstentions at the UNSC on the issue of the Russian invasion.
  • The Western world has imposed unprecedented sanctions against Russia and banned energy imports.
  • New Delhi is concerned about the impact of these sanctions on global finance, energy supplies, and transportation, amid growing signs that they will constrain India’s ability to import Russian oil.

India’s challenges

  • Russia’s increasing dependence on China: What must worry India is the fact that Russia will now become increasingly dependent on Chinese support to defend its policies.
  • The collapsing ruble, the punishing sanctions, and the dire state of the Russian economy will push Russia further into China’s military and economic orbit.
  • China’s challenge in Indo-Pacific: India’s real strategic challenge is surfacing in the Indo-Pacific with the rise of China, as Beijing has consistently sought to expand its zone of military, economic and political influence through the Belt and Road Initiative.
  • Though India would like the U.S. to continue to focus on China, it is not possible for Washington to ignore Russia’s aggression along NATO’s periphery.

How India’s ties with Russia changed over time

  • Since the end of the Cold War, Indians have been debating the contours of strategic autonomy.
  • For one section the doctrine of ‘multi-alignment’ is the 21st century avatar of strategic autonomy as India has been expanding its engagement with all the major powers.
  • Following the disintegration of the USSR, India joined Russia and China against the unipolarity of the U.S.
  •  For some time, this common concern about unipolarity put the three countries on the same path towards mutual cooperation and understanding.
  • Later, Brazil and South Africa were also brought into this coalition.
  • However, it soon became clear that India and China did not see eye to eye.
  • Moreover, India was determined to maintain its partnership with Russia, an important arms supplier.
  • Its ties with the U.S. have also improved significantly since the end of the Cold War.
  • But continuing dependence on Russian weaponry has become India’s strategic headache.

Way forward for India

  •  Under Mr. Putin, Russia is in a state of transition, swinging wildly from one crisis to another.
  • Therefore, it is too risky for India to pursue vague aims vis-à-vis Russia in these uncertain times.
  • A NATO-Russia Council was formed specifically to alleviate Russia’s concerns, and that Russia was recognised as one of the world’s leading industrial powers through a formal admission into the elite G-7.
  • Though Moscow has drifted much closer to Beijing, and is sharply critical of India’s engagement with the U.S. and the Quad, India finds it difficult to extend support to Ukraine.
  • It goes without saying that the U.S. is the country most likely to bolster India’s future as a great power.

Conclusion

It is not going to be easy for New Delhi to maintain its balancing act in the future as Washington hardens its position further. It is inevitable that during this time of diplomatic and strategic uncertainty, New Delhi needs to be ready to radically redefine its relationship with Moscow.

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Why ICJ order on Ukraine matters

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- ICJ decision on Ukraine crisis and its significance

Context

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Russia to immediately suspend its military operations in Ukraine. In short, to end the war instantly.

Breach of the Genocide Convention

  • Ukraine moved the ICJ against Russia accusing it of falsely claiming that Ukrainians are committing genocide in their territory and using this untruthful premise to start an illegal war.
  • This, Ukraine believes, breaches its rights under the Genocide Convention — a treaty that is binding to both Russia and Ukraine.
  • This decision was rendered by the ICJ in response to Ukraine’s application for indication of provisional measures under Article 41 of the ICJ Statute.
  • Provisional measures under the ICJ Statute are the international equivalent of an interim injunction that can be provided by the court to preserve the rights of the parties pending a final decision on the merits of the case.

Three reasons cited by the ICJ

1] ICJ’s jurisdiction in the case

  • Since 2014, Russia has been repeatedly accusing Ukraine of committing genocide in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
  •  Just before the military invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned ending the genocide in Ukraine as the reason to use force.
  • Ukraine vehemently rejects this charge.
  • Prima facie, this shows the existence of a “dispute” under Article IX of the Genocide Convention — the compromissory clause that bestows jurisdiction on the ICJ.
  • Self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter: Russia contended that its formal basis for use of force against Ukraine was its right to self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter (a patently illegal argument, but this issue is not before the ICJ).
  • The court held that it had prima facie jurisdiction in the case because the subject matter fell under the Genocide Convention.

2] Preservation of rights claimed by the parties

  • Ukraine argues that it has a right under the Genocide Convention not to be falsely accused of genocide and rely on this wrong pretext to use force against its territorial integrity.
  • The ICJ held that the objective of indicating provisional measures is the preservation of the rights claimed by the parties, pending the decision on merits.
  • Since the current proceedings were only for provisional measures, the ICJ did not decide definitively whether Ukraine has such a right under the Genocide Convention.
  • Nonetheless, the ICJ found Ukraine’s right plausible, which is adequate for the current purposes.
  • While the court did not decide on whether Russia has breached the Genocide Convention, as this is a question of merits, it did express doubt over whether a country can unilaterally use force against another country for punishing or preventing an alleged act of genocide.

3] Risk of irreparable harm to Ukraine’s rights

  • The ICJ held that if it does not indicate provisional measures, that is, order cessation of military action, there is a real and imminent risk of irreparable harm to Ukraine’s rights.
  • This is because of the magnitude of destruction that the ongoing war has caused.

Significance of the order

  • ICJ’s decision is binding on Russia and constitutes part of its international legal obligations.
  • However, the remedy for not complying with ICJ rulings lies with the UN Security Council, which has Russia as a permanent member.
  • But just because authoritarian populist leaders like Vladimir Putin don’t care for international law does not diminish its significance.

Conclusion

The weight of global opinion against Russia on its egregious abuse of international law is mounting with each passing day. Russia can keep ignoring this only at grave peril to itself.

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Why the Russia-Ukraine crisis may lead to a shortage in Semiconductors?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Semiconductor, Rare earth elements

Mains level : Economic impact of Russian invasion

The global supply of semiconductors is now being threatened once again by the Ukraine crisis on account of supply of two key raw materials — neon and palladium — that are at a risk of being constrained.

What are Semiconductors?

  • A semiconductor sits between a conductor and an insulator and is commonly used in the development of electronic chips, computing components, and devices.
  • It’s generally created using silicon, germanium, and other pure elements.
  • Semiconductors are created by adding impurities to the element.

Why are neon and palladium important for chipmaking?

(a) Neon

  • Neon gas is used in the photolithography process that is the most common method for fabricating integrated circuits.
  • Specifically, the neon gas is used in the laser machines that carve the integrated circuits.
  • But for use of neon gas in the semiconductor industry, the gas has to reach 99.99% purity levels — which makes it a rarity.
  • More than half of semiconductor-grade neon comes from Ukrainian companies Incas and Cryoin.

(b) Palladium

  • It is used for multiple purposes in semiconductor and electronic manufacturing.
  • It is used to coat electrodes that help control flow of electricity.
  • It is also used in plating of microprocessors and printed circuit boards — which is an essential process of chip making.
  • Russia accounts for nearly half the global supplies of palladium and the multiple trade sanctions on Moscow threaten to constrain the availability of the element.

Why was there a shortage in semiconductors?

  • The trigger point was the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns across the world that forced chip-making facilities to shut in countries like Japan, South Korea, China and the US.
  • A key feature in a chip shortage is that it almost always causes cascading effects, given that the first one creates pent-up demand that becomes the cause for the follow-up famine.

How is the Russia-Ukraine crisis protracting this shortage?

  • Palladium and neon are two resources that are key to the production of semiconductor chips.
  • Russia supplies over 40 per cent of world’s palladium and Ukraine produces 70 per cent of neon.

How long will the semiconductor shortage last?

  • The answer to that question is a function of two variables:
  1. Existing stockpiles of these raw materials with chip manufacturers
  2. Time for which the crisis in Ukraine prevails
  • If a deal is not brokered in the coming months, expect the chip shortage to get worse and for industries highly dependent on them to be similarly affected.
  • This means significant risks are ahead for many automakers, electronic device manufacturers, phone makers, and many other sectors that are increasingly reliant on chips for their products to work.

 

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Why the West should focus on China

Note4Students

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

Context

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. 

Conclusion

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.

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

What Quad can learn from NATO’s blunders

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Quad

Mains level : Paper 2- Lessons for Quad from Russia-Ukraine war

Context

The Russian invasion of Ukraine offers several lessons to the Quad countries.

Negligence on part of NATO

  • This article is admittedly written in hindsight, but there is a continuing thread to the western blunders in the approach to dealing with Moscow, particularly concerning Putin.
  • He has had a dramatic rise in the political hierarchy of Moscow, with many of his successes unexplained but for the strong behind-the-scenes backing of the FSB.
  •  Unfortunately, it was ignored in the West, and particularly in Europe, which was busy with civilianising and militarily downgrading NATO.
  • The western leaders were overcome with hubris and dismantled the military intellectual content of NATO headquarters, reducing NATO forces to a rapid reaction force under the political control of a civilian secretary-general.
  • The West, therefore, failed to connect Putin’s invasion of Georgia with his continuing vision to fight the regime change in Ukraine in 2015.

What can Quad learn?

  • War in Indo-Pacific will be maritime war:  War in the Indo-Pacific will be a maritime war fought in accordance with maritime strategy and space assets.
  • The greatest difference is that peaceful maritime reconnaissance is a legitimate activity with the help of which situational awareness can be built up, enabling the delivery of a crippling conventional first strike in the first stages of a possible conflict.
  • Avoid making Quad a diplomatic grouping: To call the Quad a “diplomatic grouping” is a catastrophic error.
  • Implication of calling Quad a diplomatic grouping: In actual fact, the Quad, is all about maritime domain awareness, underwater domain awareness, and information sharing — all of them purely naval activities, which need continuous communication (that is catered for), a command organisation and a secretariat, neither of which we have because Quad is a diplomatic grouping.
  • The military is trained to think structurally, cast future scenarios, do contingent planning, find alternatives and plan for victory. Diplomats have no such background.
  • Confusing Beijing by calling it a diplomatic grouping will certainly lead to a misunderstanding of the Quad nations’ resolve and possible Chinese adventurism.

Way forward

  • The Quad needs to be represented by the owners of the maritime assets used to obtain domain awareness and a staff with command communications and a depth of intellectual planning.
  • The great maritime strength of the Quad is its force of Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
  • Japan and the US are particularly rich in those resources.
  • India’s force of P-81s is substantial and with the help of Australia, a maritime domain awareness can be built up that denies the PLA navy the chance to hide in the vastness of the ocean.
  • The Indo-US communication agreement was presumably established to keep the four-nation search group on a common grid.
  • Quad meetings should be headed by naval officers, with diplomatic support.

Conclusion

West failed to read Putin’s ambitions and downgraded NATO. The same mistakes should not be repeated in Indo-Pacific by the Quad.

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

India’s Crude Oil Trade with Russia

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Crude Oil imports of India

Mains level : Read the attached story

The Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) has bought two million barrels of Russian crude oil as Indian energy majors forge ahead with attempts to secure a part of the Russian energy supply.

What is the news?

  • India is exploring alternative payment channels for trade with Russia and the possibility of sourcing additional oil at a discount, even as the West reduces its exposure to Russian oil.
  • Now India needs to make some necessary adjustments in the financial front because of the challenges posed by the American sanctions.

India’s import dependence and Russia

  • India is heavily dependent on oil imports, the bulk of which comes from the Middle East, Africa, Europe, North America, South America, and South-East Asia.
  • Russia’s oil-related exports to India are only about $1 billion.
  • However, Russia is keen to scale this up even as the US has announced a ban on oil imports from the country and the UK has adopted a more gradual reduction.
  • This offers the opportunity for a lucrative supply deal with the second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia.

Do you know?

India’s nuclear power project in Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu is built with Russian collaboration.

What is at stake in oil trade with Russia?

  • India, however, needs to find alternative payment channels due to the evolving crisis.
  • This is also crucial for bilateral non-oil trade.

Risks posed by payment crisis

  • Western curbs cutting off some Russian banks from the SWIFT payment system has proven to be a setback for bilateral trade.
  • Many payments worth $500 million to Indian exporters for goods already shipped reportedly being stuck.
  • A steady supply of critical commodities such as fuel and fertilizer from Europe is crucial in India’s efforts to manage inflation.
  • A spike in natural gas in global markets is pushing up the cost of procuring commonly used urea, which is sold at a subsidized price to farmers.

Why is oil supply from Russia important?

  • As much as 85% of India’s oil requirement is met through imports.
  • The government has tried diversifying its supply sources.
  • This would add more gas into the energy basket, giving a strong push to electric mobility, building strategic reserves and blending ethanol in auto fuel to reduce oil import dependence.
  • Extra oil supplies from Russia could aid in this effort.

How’re the two nations handling the situation?

  • India and Russia are exploring a Rupee-Rouble trade mechanism using currency of a third country as a reference.
  • This would allow Indian exporters to be paid in rupees.
  • This would need an Indian and a Russian bank opening shop on each other’s soil.
  • Another option is routing payments via a bank with limited overseas exposure so that it will not attract curbs.
  • For additional Russian oil shipments, India needs access to more vessels and containers.
  • Indian refiners’ ability to process larger quantities of crude oil also needs to be assessed.

Extending the collaborations

  • New Delhi has for long followed the policy of acquiring energy assets abroad to reduce risks related to heavy import dependence on oil.
  • Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd’s investment in Russia’s Sakhalin project is one example.
  • Besides, Russian company PJSC Rosneft Oil Co. is a stakeholder in Nayara Energy Ltd that runs the second largest single-site refinery in Gujarat.

 

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Fragmenting world order, untied nations

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : GATT

Mains level : Paper 3- Implications of Russia-Ukraine war for the global order

Context

The outcome that should worry us apart from the devastating consequences for the Ukrainian nation, is the impact the Ukraine crisis is having on the global world order, which is fragmenting in every respect of global interconnectedness — in terms of international cooperation, security, military use, economic order, and even cultural ties.

Implications of war for global order

1] Question mark on the relevance of the UN and Security Council

  • Russia’s actions in Ukraine may, in terms of refusing to seek an international mandate, seem no different from the war by the United States in Iraq in 2003, Israel’s bombing of Lebanon in 2006 and the Saudi-coalition’s attacks of Yemen in 2015.
  • But Ukraine is in fact a bigger blow to the post-World War order than any other.
  • It run counter to the UN Charter preamble, i.e. “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war…”, “to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours”, as well as Articles 1 and 2 of the ‘Purposes and Principles’ of the United Nations (Chapter 1).
  • Meanwhile, in their responses, other P-5 members such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France did not seek to strengthen the global order either, imposing sanctions unilaterally rather than attempting to bring them to the UN.

2] Declining nuclear safeguards

  • Russian military’s moves to target areas near Chernobyl and shell buildings near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant show an alarming nonchalance towards safeguards in place over several decades.
  • The world must also consider the cost to the nuclear non-proliferation regime’s credibility: Ukraine and Libya that willingly gave up nuclear programmes have been invaded, while regimes such as Iran and North Korea can defy the global order because they have held on to their nuclear deterrents.

3] Use of non-state actors

  • There are also the covenants agreed upon during the global war on terrorism, which have been degraded, with the use of non-state actors in the Ukraine crisis.
  • For years, pro-Russia armed militia operated in the Donbas regions, challenging the writ of the government in Kyiv.
  • With the arrival of Russian troops, the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has invited all foreign fighters to support his forces to the country.

4] Fragmentation of global financial order

  • While analysts have pointed out that the sanctions announced so far do not include some of Russia’s biggest banks in order to avoid the disruption of oil and gas from Russia, the intent to cut Russia out of all monetary and financial systems remains.
  • The arbitrary and unilateral nature of western sanctions rub against the international financial order set up under the World Trade Organization (that replaced the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT).
  • The obvious fallout of this “economic cancel culture” will, without doubt, be a reaction — a pushback from Russia and an exploration of alternative trading arrangements with countries such as China, India and much of the Eastern Hemisphere which continue to trade with Moscow.
  • For the S-400 missile defence deal, for example, New Delhi used a rupee-rouble mechanism and banks that were immunised from the U.S.’s CAATSA sanctions (or Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) for advance payments.

5] Isolation of Russia

  • While several governments including the U.S., the U.K. and Germany have persistently said that their quarrel is not with Russian citizens but with their leadership, it is clear that most of their actions will hurt the average Russian citizen.
  • Some of this isolation of its citizens will work to the favour of an increasingly authoritarian Kremlin.
  • Mr. Putin’s response to the banning of Russian channels in Europe and its allies has been to use the western media ban as a pretext to ban opposition-friendly Russian channels as well.

Takeaways for India

  • India’s abstentionist responses and its desire not to be critical of any of the actions taken by the big powers might keep Indians safe in the short term.
  • But in the long term, it is only those nations that move proactively to uphold, strengthen and reinvent the global order that will make the world a safer place.

Conclusion

The events over the past two weeks, set in motion by Russia’s declaration of war on Ukraine, have no doubt reversed many of the ideas of 1945 and 1990, fragmenting the international order established with the UN, ushering in an era of deglobalisation and bringing down another Iron Curtain.

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Ukraine invasion and the great geopolitical reset

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 2- Emerging trends from Russian invasion of Ukraine

Context

Major wars have significant consequences for the internal and international politics of the combatant nations. Wars between great powers are far more consequential.

Geopolitical changes triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

1] New dynamism in great power triangle

  •  Biden hoped to distance Russia from China and focus all of America’s energies on the Indo-Pacific.
  • But Putin chose to align with China and confront the US and Europe with an impossible set of demands including a sphere of influence in Central Europe and turning Ukraine into Moscow’s protectorate.
  • China’s public articulation has underlined “rock-solid” support for Moscow but it is under some pressure to balance between its Russian alliance “without limits” and its deep economic interdependence with the US and Europe.
  • Whichever way this plays out, the current crisis has revealed America’s pole position in the great strategic triangle.

2] Reinforced US primacy amongst the great powers

  • The US primacy amongst the great powers has been reinforced by the restoration of strategic unity within the West.
  • While many trans-Atlantic differences remain on the nature and extent of sanctions against Russia, the crisis has revealed the enduring sources of Western unity.

3] Disciplining of Europe

  • Third is the American disciplining of Europe, especially Germany, where illusions of normative soft power and the faith in mercantilism had blinded the continent to geopolitical challenges presented by Russia and China.
  • Europe’s belief that it can enrich itself in the Russian and Chinese markets while expecting Washington to do all the heavy lifting on security is no longer sustainable.
  • The German decision on rearmament announced in the wake of the Russian aggression marks a definitive geopolitical turn in Europe.

4] EU’s dilemma in energy domain

  • Nowhere is the EU’s Russian dilemma more visible than in the energy domain where Europe is deeply tied to Russian imports of oil, natural gas, and coal.
  • The EU pays $110 billion a year to Moscow for these imports.
  • While stepping up pressure on Europe to drastically reduce energy imports from Russia, Washington is reaching out to Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Iran to fill the gap created by the planned blockade of Russian energy supplies.

5] Asia is adapting to the change

  • Sensing the dangers from a Sino-Russian axis and fearing that Europe could distract America, Japan is rethinking its nuclear abstinence.
  • South Korea’s president-elect, Yoon Suk-Yeol wants to strengthen ties with the US, and explore potential cooperation with the Quad.
  •  While the ASEAN remains torn between the US and China, many in the region are waking up to the dangers of betting that Beijing’s rise is irreversible, and that the Western decline is terminal.

Lessons for India

  • The first major conflict amongst the great powers in the 21st century has presented India with multiple challenges, including its long-standing reliance on Russian military supplies.
  •  More immediately, the crisis in Ukraine demands that Delhi move on a war-footing towards a rapid modernisation and expansion of its domestic defence industrial base that is so critical for sustaining India’s strategic autonomy.

Conclusion

Unless there is an early diplomatic breakthrough, the conflict between Russia and the West is likely to sharpen in the coming days. But this hinge moment in world politics is also an opportunity for Delhi to increase its heft in the changing global balance.

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Analysing India’s stand on the war on Ukraine

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UNSC

Mains level : Paper 2- India's vote at the UN on Ukraine

Context

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has placed considerable moral responsibility on India. However, at the United Nations (UN), India has refused to condemn the violation of the rights of the Ukrainians.

Issues involved in India’s vote

1] Commitment to principles

  • National interest: One of the arguments justifying India’s stance is that in international affairs, a country must be guided by its national interest and not some abstract principles.
  • It is pointed out that due to the very high dependence of India on the Soviet Union for defence equipment and the likely need of support on the Pakistan issue in the Security Council, India must not offend Russia by condemning the invasion.
  • Why India should condemn Russia: If a people’s principles are their most deeply held beliefs about how the world must be ordered, then their interest lies in ensuring that their principles prevail in international relations.
  • Thus, if India does not want to see itself to be the victim of territorial aggression in the future, it must communicate strongly on the world stage that it condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

2] India-West relations

  • In the 1950s the West was clearly unsympathetic to India, playing its card openly on the Kashmir issue at the UN as early as 1947.
  • On the other hand, the Soviet Union, the precursor to the present-day Russian state, had rescued India several times by exercising its veto in the UN Security Council.
  • Now, close to 75 years later, the situation has changed.
  • Public opinion in the West does not favour unconditional support of Pakistan vis-à-vis India while Russia encourages Pakistan.
  • Moreover, we know by now that some limited support at the UN matters little, as taking the Kashmir issue to the UN Security Council has not got Pakistan to withdraw from the territory it occupied.

3] India’s dependence on Russia for defence supplies

  •  It is indeed correct that India relies on the Russians for such equipment and their spare parts.
  • At the same time there is a global market for arms. It is not evident that anything withheld by the Russians cannot be sourced from that market.
  •  For India to base its public stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the assured supply of armaments is to really drag ourselves down to the bottom of the pit in terms of ethics.

4] East-West conflict argument

  • Another argument is that this is a conflict between the east and the west, and India should stay out of it.
  • To say that this is just another east-west conflict from which India should stay out is tantamount to seeing the Russian invasion and the brave defence of their country by the Ukrainians as a mere marital squabble.
  • India had refused in 1956 to condemn the Soviet invasion of Hungary, its action today is much worse.

Conclusion

India must take a long view of how it wants to engage with it. Its actions so far leave it in the company of Russia and China.

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Geneva Conventions and the Russia-Ukraine War

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Geneva Conventions

Mains level : Read the attached story

As the evidence of casualties in the civilian population continues to mount, the world will increasingly look to the Geneva Conventions in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Geneva Conventions Guidelines for Wartime

  • These are a set of four treaties, formalized in 1949, and three additional protocols, which codify widely accepted ethical and legal international standards for humanitarian treatment of those impacted by war.
  • The focus of the Conventions is the:
  1. Treatment of non-combatants and prisoners of war, and
  2. Not the use of conventional or biological and chemical weapons

What are the four Geneva Conventions?

(1) First Geneva Convention: Health and Medical Issues

  • It protects wounded and sick soldiers on land during war.
  • This convention extends to medical and religious personnel, medical units, and medical transport.
  • It has two annexes containing a draft agreement relating to hospital zones and a model identity card for medical and religious personnel.

(2) Second Geneva Convention:  Offshore Protection

  • It protects wounded, sick and shipwrecked military personnel at sea during war.
  • This convention also extends to hospital ships and medical transports by sea, with specific commentary on the treatment and protections for their personnel.

(3) Third Geneva Convention: Treatment of Prisoners of War (PoW)

It applies to prisoners of war, including a wide range of general protections such as humane treatment, maintenance and equality across prisoners, conditions of captivity, questioning and evacuation of prisoners, transit camps, food, clothing, medicines, hygiene and right to religious, intellectual, and physical activities of prisoners.

(4) Fourth Geneva Convention: Civilian protection of occupied territory ***

  • It particularly applies to the invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces.
  • It protects civilians, including those in occupied territory.
  • Comprising 159 articles, it outlines the norms for this critical dimension of conflict.

Extent of the Fourth Geneva Convention amid the Ukraine-Russia War

  • Along with the Additional Protocols of 1977, the Fourth Convention expounds upon the:
  1. General protection of populations against certain consequences of war
  2. Conduct of hostilities and the status and
  3. Treatment of protected persons
  4. Distinguishing between the situation of foreigners on the territory of one of the parties to the conflict and that of civilians in occupied territory
  • This convention also spells out the obligations of the occupying power vis-à-vis the civilian population and outlines detailed provisions on humanitarian relief for populations in occupied territory.

Which countries are signatories?

  • The Geneva Conventions have been ratified by 196 states, including all UN member states.
  • The three Protocols have been ratified by 174, 169 and 79 states respectively.

Russia and these conventions

  • In 2019, perhaps anticipating the possibility of its invading Ukraine in the near future, Russia withdrew its declaration under Article 90 of Protocol 1.
  • By withdrawing this declaration, Russia has pre-emptively left itself with the option to refuse access by any international fact-finding missions to Russian entities.
  • Not withdrawing could have find Russia responsible for violations of the Geneva Conventions standards.
  • Further, the four conventions and first two protocols of the Geneva Conventions were ratified by the Soviet Union, not Russia.
  • Hence there is a risk of the Russian government of the day disavowing any responsibility under the Conventions.

What would be the steps for potential prosecution under the Conventions?

  • Under Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the ICC, it is the ICC that has jurisdiction in respect of war crimes, in particular “when committed as part of a plan or policy or as part of a large-scale commission of such crimes.”

To what extent have Geneva Conventions been upheld worldwide in recent years?

  • Amnesty International notes that there has been a blatant disregard for civilian protection and international humanitarian law in armed conflicts where four of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council are parties.
  • Specifically, Amnesty cited:
  1. US-led coalition’s bombing of Raqqa in Syria, which left more than 1,600 civilians dead
  2. Destruction of civilian infrastructure and lives in Aleppo and Idlib by Russian forces
  3. Leading to mass displacement of millions
  4. War in Yemen where the Saudi Arabia and the UAE-led coalition, backed by the West, killed and injured thousands of civilians, fuelling a full-blown humanitarian crisis

 

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

What is ‘Most Favoured Nation’ Status?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : MFN status

Mains level : Global sanctions on Russia

The United States, the European Union, Britain, Canada and Japan are to move jointly to revoke Russia’s “most favoured nation” (MFN) status over its invasion of Ukraine.

What is MFN status?

  • The World Trade Organization’s 164 members commit to treating other members equally so they can all benefit from each other’s lowest tariffs, highest import quotas and fewest trade barriers.
  • This principle of non-discrimination is known as most favoured nation (MFN) treatment.
  • There are some exceptions, such as when members strike bilateral trade agreements or when members offer developing countries special access to their markets.
  • For countries outside the WTO, such as Iran, North Korea, Syria or Russian ally Belarus, WTO members can impose whatever trade measures they wish without flouting global trading rules.

Removal of MFN status

  • There is no formal procedure for suspending MFN treatment and it is not clear whether members are obliged to inform the WTO if they do so.
  • India suspended Pakistan’s MFN status in 2019 after a suicide attack by a Pakistan-sponsored group.
  • Pakistan never applied MFN status to India.

What does losing MFN status mean?

  • Revoking Russia’s MFN status sends a strong signal that the US and its Western allies do not consider Russia a economic partner in any way, but it does not in itself change conditions for trade.
  • It does formally allow the Western allies to increase import tariffs or impose quotas on Russian goods, or even ban them, and to restrict services out of the country.
  • They could also overlook Russian intellectual property rights.
  • Ahead of MFN status removal, the United States had already announced a ban on imports of Russian oil and gas.

 

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

What is the Temporary Protection Directive of the EU?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : TPD

Mains level : Refugee crisis of Ukranians

Responding to the crisis, EU Member States made the unprecedented decision to activate a major European Union’s Council Directive, known as the Temporary Protection Directive (TPD).

What is Temporary Protection?

  • The EU Commission describes “temporary protection” under the TPD as an “exceptional measure to provide immediate and temporary protection to displaced persons from non-EU countries and those unable to return to their country of origin”.
  • The directive applies when there is a risk that the standard asylum system is struggling to cope with demand stemming from a mass influx risking a negative impact on the processing of claims.

Objectives of this protection

  1. To both establish minimum standards for giving temporary protection to displaced persons
  2. To promote a balance of effort between Member States in receiving and bearing the consequences of receiving such persons

Why establish standards?

The Commission gives two reasons for doing so:

  • It reduces disparities between the policies of EU States on the reception and treatment of displaced persons in a situation of mass influx.
  • It promotes solidarity and burden-sharing among EU States with respect to receiving large numbers of potential refugees at one time.”

What obligations does the TPD place upon EU states?

According to the European Commission, the TPD “foresees harmonised rights for the beneficiaries of temporary protection”, which include:

  • Residence permit for the duration of the protection (which can last from 1-3 years),
  • Appropriate information on temporary protection,
  • Access to employment,
  • Access to accommodation or housing,
  • Access to social welfare or means of subsistence,
  • Access to medical treatment,
  • Access to education for minors,
  • Opportunities for families to reunite in certain circumstances, and
  • Guarantees for access to the normal asylum procedure

The TPD also contains provisions for the return of displaced persons to their country of origin, unless they have committed serious crimes or they “pose a threat to security from the benefit of temporary protection”.

 

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

Do Economic Sanctions work as a deterrent?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : Economic implications of Russia-Ukraine War

The economic sanctions imposed by the US, UK, and the EU on Russia for going to war against Ukraine could prove to be detrimental to the country.

What do economic sanctions mean?

  • Economic sanctions are penalties or bans that are levied against a country to push it to modify its strategic decisions.
  • They include withdrawal of customary trade and financial relations for security and foreign policy purposes.
  • Sanctions could result in cutting economic ties in every respect such as terms of trade, financial assistance, transit support, travel bans, asset freezes, and trade restrictions.
  • The curbs could also be targeted, thus restricting transactions with certain businesses, groups, or individuals.
  • Amid increased global and economic interdependence, they could prove to be detrimental for the targeted country.

How do sanctions impact an economy?

  • No country can afford to be a closed economy.
  • The affected country’s supply chain gets disrupted in terms of the inflow of goods and services and for reaching out to the export markets.
  • In the former, there is a risk of the internal economy being crippled, especially if it depends on imports of critical raw materials.
  • The domestic economy could also be deprived of external market support.
  • The risk element is high especially in case of economic curbs being imposed collectively, such as by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

What are the economic sanctions against Russia?

  • Major Russian banks have been banned from the SWIFT financial messaging service and their assets have been frozen.
  • Sanctions have been levied on the Russian Direct Investment Fund and against some of Russia’s wealthiest people.
  • Access to air-space has been denied and export controls introduced.
  • The countries imposing curbs on Russia account for 34% of world GDP.

What is the cost of such restrictions?

  • This depends on the economic strength of the country being targeted.
  • Russia cannot be brushed aside as an ordinary economy.
  • The country is important to the global economy because of its oil reserves and access to nuclear power.
  • Russia is also a supplier of sophisticated defence products and is an important supplier of crucial defence products to India.
  • Given the long-term strategic nature of the relationship, India is abstaining from voting on resolutions to condemn Russia.

How did India manage curbs after Pokhran-II?

  • India’s dependence on external assistance was more than $100 billion.
  • The government appealed to non-resident Indians (NRIs) whose annual savings were more than $400 billion.
  • NRIs’ subscription to government bonds was more than double the annual foreign assistance.
  • India could also showcase its scientific strength as none of the scientists involved were trained abroad.
  • This helped India display confidence, especially to investors.

 

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Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Global Implications

The complexities for implementing a No-Fly Zone

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : No-Fly Zone

Mains level : Read the attached story

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General stated that the organisation would not designate the Ukrainian airspace as a ‘No Fly Zone’ which he said would lead to a full-fledged war in Europe, involving many more countries and resulting in greater human suffering.

What is a No-Fly Zone ?

  • In simple terms, a No-Fly Zone refers to a particular airspace wherein aircraft, excluding those permitted by an enforcement agency, are barred from flying.
  • Articles under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter dealing with Action with Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression’ are invoked to authorise a potential no-fly zone.
  • Article 39 dictates the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to determine the probable existence of any threat to peace or an act of aggression.
  • It suggests further measures, if required, are to be carded out in accordance to Article 41 and 42 to restore international peace and security.
  • No fly zones have been implemented without UN mandate too.

Cases of implementation

  • In 1991 after the first Gulf War, U.S. and its coalition partners imposed two no fly zones over Iraq to prevent Saddam Hussain born attacking ethnic groups.
  • In non-combat situations, No fly zones can be imposed permanently and temporarily over sensitive installations or for high profile events like Olympics.

What is the feasibility of ‘No fly zone over Ukraine?

  • No-fly zone declarations are essentially a compromise in situations demanding a response to ongoing violence, but full military intervention is politically untenable.
  • NATO has previously imposed No-Fly Zones in non-member states like Libya and Bosnia. With Russia it fears a full-fledged war in Europe.
  • It has been demanding that NATO scale back to the pre-1997 arrangements. Both Russia and Ukraine are not members of NATO.
  • Due to this the idea of imposing a no fly zone’ over Ukraine has been rejected outright.
  • If implemented, it means NATO deploying aircraft and assets which would result in a direct confrontation with Russia.

What are the broad contours in a No-Fly Zone?

  • The UNSC had banned all flights in the Libyan airspace post adoption of Resolution 1973 in 2011 in response to the Libyan Civil War.
  • Member slates were asked to deny permission to any Libyan registered aircraft to use the territory without requisite approval.
  • Further, the member states could bar any entity from flying if they found reasonable grounds to believe the aircraft is ferrying lethal or non-lethal military equipment.
  • Member states were permitted to allow flights whose sole purpose was humanitarian, such as delivery of medical supplies and food, chauffer humanitarian workers and related assistance, or evacuating foreign nationals from the territory.

 

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