Non-alignment in multipolar framework

What are the different phases of world order?

India’s advocacy for autonomy (& non-alignment) in making foreign policy choices in world order over decades.

  1. Bipolar(1947 to 1991) – Era of Cold War where world was divided in two camps one headed by USA and other headed by erstwhile USSR.
  • During this phase India adhered to the principle of Non Alignment.
  1. Unipolar(1991 to 2008) – With disintegration of USSR, USA became the sole super power.
  • In this phase India reached out to engage with US, Israel and ASEAN countries more intensively.
  1. Multipolarat present times where there are big powers and several middle powers.
  • In this phase of transitional geopolitics, India’s policy of Non-Alignment has turned into Multi Alignment.

What are the reasons for India to rethink its approach to Strategic autonomy?

  1. Rise of China-
  • China as the workshop of the world made many established western powers insecure of their status.
  • Trade war– This has resulted in a trade and strategic war between China and the US, without caring for the real interests of the people and environment, which will tend to have disastrous consequences for most of the world and global population.
  1. Indo-China conflict– The tension at the Western Sector of the India-China border claimed lives from both sides and exposed the unresolved conflicts between the two neighboring Asian giants.
  2. Annexation of West Bank – Donald Trump backed Israel’s plan at annexing the West Bank is the newest in a long series of forcing dispossession and stateless on Palestinians.

These issues have brought the discussion around global power dynamics to the fore even when the world population is gripped with disease, sorrow, trauma and mass unemployment.

What is the significance of Indian foreign policy?

  • India’s priorities have tilted towards the US and the neoliberal framework.
  • Increasing risk– The US is trying to drag India into its conflict with China to protect the US interests in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Impact other interests– The trade deals done to please the US have resulted in the loss of livelihood, agricultural land, opportunities and hard-won labor rights of Indian working classes.

What are the needs of current situation?

  1. Global need-
  • The world needs today are international relations based on the principles of mutual respect, concern and cooperation and population involvement.
  • To come together to build public health and education infrastructure.
  1. Revival of Non-alignment
  • India should reject both the unipolarity of the 1990s and the bipolarity of the current system dominated by the US and China.
  • India should live up to its independent non-aligned credentials and play a constructive role in evolving a more inclusive, multipolar and just world order.
  1. India as a Non-permanent UNSC member-India should use its UNSC chair to represent nations hitherto unrepresented or underrepresented at the high table and continues the tradition of speaking for the marginalized.

Way forward-

  • India and China should engage in a meaningful dialogue to resolve the border dispute.
  • India should strive to make the world more inclusive, just and sensitive to the environment.
  • India pursuing an independent foreign policy is not only essential for the country or the South Asian region, it can have a bearing on deprived populations of the world.
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