A strategy for India in a world that is adrift

Synopsis: As the global order shifts with the rising of China and the relative decline of the USA, India must act resolutely to secure its place in the global order.

Introduction

During the 90s, tectonic shifts in global politics prompted the dialogue on Non Aligned Movement 2.0. Today, again, India stands on a global politics which is in transition. But the principles of NAM still hold relevance today.

The multipolar world

Today’s world is not bipolar like in the Cold War days. It is neither unipolar like in the 90s. Today’s world can be called a world in transition. This is evident in the failed collective response of the world towards the COVID-19 pandemic. This is also seen in the failure of the world to come together on tackling climate change.

This has also created many challenges like rising of China, reverse globalization, formation of regional trade blocks, stalling of initiatives on climate change And an uncertain global order.

What are the challenges & opportunities for India?

Close cooperation in security with the other countries could lead to the strengthening of relations in the field of economy, energy, trade and investment. This could also help in cooperation at the global level in the fields of climate change and emerging technologies.

Today, in the maritime domain, India has great strength in the Indian Ocean. This could enable India to project itself as a strong, reliable partner in this region. India can strengthen this further by the creation of a maritime initiative like the Bay of Bengal commission.

How reviving SAARC will be beneficial for India?

Given India’s central position, India can act as a hub of regional integration and consolidation by reviving SAARC. SAARC suffers from over securitisation of national security, which has led to neglect of trade and connectivity.

Strengthening trade relations with SAARC can reduce the dependence of India with China and also ensure that our neighbouring countries do not fall prey to Chinese predatory economics.

What is the way forward?

It is based on the core strategic principles in Non-Alignment 2.0 which is still relevant: independent judgement, developing our capacities and creating an equitable and enabling international order for India’s transformation.

However, self-reliance is the key to India’s continued growth and prosperity. India should focus on developing its economy and critical technologies to lead the world and secured its place in the global order.

Source: This post is based on the article “A strategy for India in a world that is adrift” published in The Hindu on 7th October 2021.

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