UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis | 19 May 2022

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What the article is about?

  • Talks about the Russia Ukraine Crisis and its impact on India

Syllabus: GS-II International Relations, India’s neighbourhood relations

Russia-Ukraine War and Impact:

  • 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.
  • And yet, 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:
    • Russia as a key strategic partner is no longer available to India for balancing purposes.
    • Russia’s sudden absence from the Asian balance of power equations has further enhanced Chinese influence in the region.
    • 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.
      • These factors, ipso facto, will limit India’s regional geopolitical options
  • Managing the China challenge continues to be New Delhi’s biggest concern.
    • 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.
  • For New Delhi then, the worry is no longer about how to please both sides in this war, but how to manage a China that is attempting to rapidly consolidate the region under its influence.
    • 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.
  • India’s north-western continental strategy, in particular towards Afghanistan and Central Asia, too will get complicated due to the Ukraine war.
  • 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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