The G7 leaders recently reaffirmed their support for Ukraine and intensified sanctions against Russia while seeking to address differences on dealing with China. The growing alignment between Russia and China indicates a shift towards a bipolar framework, raising questions about India’s discourse on a multipolar world.
Different interpretations of Multipolar World –
- Rhetoric against the “collective West” reflects anti-Western sentiment in the Indian elite but lacks understanding of global geopolitical dynamics.
- Analysing the international power structure reveals that the claim of a multipolar world lacks concrete evidence.
- Claims of a multipolar world are often based on the weakening of American power since the post-Soviet era.
Uneven power distribution –
- The EU, while economically powerful, is yet to become a credible geopolitical actor.
- Russia is reasserting itself politically and militarily but remains a weak economic actor.
- Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, has limited military power and political will to consider the use of force.
- China is developing comprehensive power comparable to the US, challenging its economic dominance and offering an alternative political and economic model. However, China still lags behind in technological power and military capabilities.
India and other rising powers –
- Countries like India, Brazil, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia are rising in the global power hierarchy but have limitations compared to the US and China.
- These rising powers cannot be expected to match the capabilities of the US or China in the near future.
Strategies to balance against dominant powers –
- In the 1990s, strategies emerged to balance against unconstrained US power, leading to India’s participation in the RIC and BRICS forums.
- India’s decision was influenced by US policies on India’s nuclear and missile programs and its involvement in the Kashmir issue.
Changing geopolitical context –
- India’s geopolitical context has significantly evolved since the 1990s.
- The US facilitated India’s integration into the global nuclear order, while China has sought to block India’s membership in the nuclear suppliers group.
- China poses challenges to India on territorial, economic, and global fronts, while Russia’s alignment with China impacts India’s strategic calculus.
India has made significant adjustments to its worldview in response to the challenges posed by China. India’s discourse on a multipolar world has transitioned from hedging against US power to balancing against China through initiatives like the Quad and partnerships with the US and its allies. As Asia embraces a bipolar framework, India’s foreign policy discourse needs to keep pace with the changing dynamics and continue adapting to address emerging challenges effectively.
Source – The Indian Express
QUESTION – Discuss the evolving global power dynamics and their implications for India’s foreign policy. In light of the recent G7 declaration, examine the different interpretations of a multipolar world in the Indian debate and analyse India’s response to changing power equations. How can India adapt its foreign policy discourse to effectively address emerging challenges and maintain its strategic interests?