No winners in Russia-Ukraine war, but an opportunity for India

Source: The post is based on an article “No winners in Russia-Ukraine war, but an opportunity for India” published in the Indian Express on 15th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS2 – International Relations

Relevance: India’s Role in the Global Geopolitics

News: In the recent past, Russia started a “special military operation” against Ukraine. Since then the western media is full of solidarity with Ukraine and resistance against the incursion of Russian forces into Ukrainian territory.

Developments So Far

The US, the UK, NATO, EU and G-7, are not directly involved in the war. But they have been offering various kinds of support to Ukraine.

Like the supply of arms, intelligence, cash and logistics and training of Ukrainian troops, severe economic sanctions to cripple the Russian economy and weaken Russia.

Causes behind Russia aggression towards Ukraine

At the end of the Cold War in 1989-1990, it was agreed that NATO would not expand to the east. However, since then NATO has continued to expand in the east.

Russia has seen the emergence of a more resolute leadership in the Russian Federation under the command of the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian President articulated these apprehensions in his speech to the Munich Security Conference in 2007. However, the West ignored Russia and did not accommodate the apprehensions.

Why is there no winner in the Russia-Ukraine war?

The West has been at war before, in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. But this is different. This is a war on European soil and a war of attrition that has pitted Western firepower against Russia.

The war that most expected to come to a quick resolution has turned out to be a war of attrition, reminiscent of the brutal trench warfare and artillery duels of the First World War.

The war in Ukraine has rung the death knell of globalisation. Unlike other wars, this one has snapped the flow of global trade, sports and cultural and scientific exchanges between the West and Russia.

Countries have started increasing military spending. For example, Germany has been radically altering its policy with regard to military spending, pledging 100 billion euros into upgrading the armed forces and so on.

In addition to above, there have been the weaponization of trade through the imposition of “sanctions”. There has been wholesale confiscation of assets in Western banks and financial institutions.

The war and sanctions have resulted in the global inflation. it is biting into the budgets of low-income households all over the world.

There will be impact on the environment. For example, substituting oil and gas with coal is a potentially dangerous trade-off which will lead to failure of the efforts to rein in global warming.

Who are the real beneficiaries?

It is the military-industrial complex of the US and its global subsidiaries which are cashing in on the vast sums of taxpayer money made available to them by western governments. Otherwise, there are no winners in this war.

Way Forward

India has been able to keep Indian diplomacy open to both Russia and the United States during the Ukraine War. Due to this, India was able to repatriate vast numbers of Indians from Ukraine due to such diplomacy.

The negotiations between Russia and the West should be placed at the first priority. There might be a window of opportunity for India to mediate between both sides.

In the post-independence period, India stepped in as a mediator in the Korean conflict, under the leadership of PM Nehru. India can repeat it now

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