Major power polarization is today the wider structural reality that is shaping the contours of the emerging global order, and it is a warning sign for all nations, including India, of what is likely to come.
The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, visibly evident in the bloody fighting in the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, has again drawn attention to the constant – war is the ultima ratio or the supreme arbiter in international politics. International politics takes place in the shadow of war, and force in international politics is timeless, remaining a viable instrument of statecraft.There are six key takeaways for India from the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
The crises in Sri Lanka and Pakistan are raising questions about the relevance and the costs of their reliance on the alternative financial system provided by China’s Belt and Road Initiative On March 6, China became the last major bilateral creditor to provide financing and restructuring assurances to Sri Lanka. Following this, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to make a final decision on Colombo’s $2.9 billion bailout package. Sri Lanka’s consistent back-and-forth negotiations with the IMF and China indicate a broader development in South Asia. In 2022, two other South Asian nations and participants of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) — Pakistan and Bangladesh — had sought financial assistance from the IMF. These developments in the subcontinent indicate that developing countries are furthering their economic interests and stability by approaching the IMF and the West, even as they try not to antagonise China.
Declaring that "enough is enough" and that the system is "not fair," British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last week unveiled a five-point plan in the House of Commons to tackle illegal immigration. This plan involves setting up a new permanent unified small boats operational command, enhancing the capacity of immigration officers to focus on enforcement, slashing costs by ceasing to use hotels for asylum seekers, increasing the number of asylum caseworkers, and a new pact with Albania to expedite cases from the nation.
Australia is in a hurry to reconfigure the contours of its foreign policy. The government of Anthony Albanese is working for a thaw in Canberra’s ties with China which have deteriorated significantly in recent years. Australia’s trade minister Don Farrell met with his Chinese counterpart virtually last month in an attempt to stabilize bilateral ties that have been strained by China’s aggressive trade and political moves and Australia’s strong pushback.
Indian foreign policy has been geared toward setting up strong partnerships in recent years. From a nation that was diffident about getting together with like minded partners, New Delhi today is demonstrating its commitment in forging ties with those nations with whom it feels politically in sync. Trust based partnerships are re-defining the global landscape today and India is moving ahead with a degree of seriousness not seen in recent history as it configures its global posture as a leading power in the international system. This is particularly true of the Indo-Pacific where old partnerships have been resurrected and new ones have been crafted at a time of significant flux in the regional order. It is India’s engagement with Australia that stands out for the speed with which the two nations have been able to transform their bilateral engagement.