India’s International Moment

With Donald Trump accusing the WHO chief Tedros Adhanom supporting the Chinese during the COVID-19 outbreak that has caused over a hundred thousand deaths worldwide, and China possibly rubbishing any attempts at discussing the COVID-19 outbreak at the UNSC putting to rest all the conspiracy theories that the Chinese government deliberately did this to dent the global economy is creating ripples across the globe and is putting a question mark on the integrtiy of the global institutions of governance (UN) and is carving out a very responsible role for India to act as per the deeply cherished cultural values

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The recent fiasco where Trump was advertised as threatening India with retaliation if the Modi government did not send them the hyped drug HCQ (hydrocholorquine) also saw many attempts from various groupings to make overtures to India to incline towards the Sino-Russian bloc though the whole fiasco was a misinformation campaign by the media, yet it exposed the need for extensive ‘confidence building measures’ which need to be undertaken today, but when the UN’s integrity is put to question who shall take the mantle for the activity today?

The People’s Republic of China in an official response shared with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) their strategy which they deployed to tackle the outbreak of COVID-19 but definitely did not make it an official communication at the diplomatic level, which also raises apprehensions about the Chinese intentions to show some responsibility in the backdrop of a massive disaster that has emanated from their soil.

The Pakistanis have also made the best of the current lockdown by violating the ceasefire along the line of control in Kashmir as well as promoting infiltration bids during these trying times of a humanitarian crisis, thanks to Indian military forces that were active and after sustaining loss of lives foiled the bids and retaliated to all provocative firing clarifying that their intentions on all fronts are aggressive. In the meanwhile, China which is the chair of the UNSC has mooted discussing the Kashmir situation as a regional threat to peace and has supported Pakistan openly while the constitutional status of Kashmir stands changed. With this the UN chief who was savouring a biryani in Karachi two months ago targeted the CAA and NRC while proposong to mediate a truce between India and Pakistan on Kashmir. It is also very important that India has not only offered monetary sops to SAARC and ASEAN nations but has led the war being fought together and is garnering applause for a responsible ‘act-east’ behaviour as well.

India has changed its foreign policy since 2014 and has moved away from the Russian bloc which includes China as well and acted as a counter to American hegemony where France and Britain aligned with the former saw India as a threat and chose to support Pakistan! Today France and US support India in the UNSC while China goes against India and Russia abstains.

The OPEC countries and the Islamic world, primarily Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar have also supported Indian stands lately while Saudi believes in claiming itself as the undisputed leader of the Islamic world, the clear interest in Indian manpower and ‘new economy’ envisaged by the Saudis in their bid to challenge Israel has created a balanced relationship for India with many Islamic republics with the Saudis at the lead, barring Iran and Turkey which tend to swap sides as per the ends they intend to achieve and remain inclined to the Sino-Russian bloc more.

China on its end has seen unequivocal support from the instituions of peace such as the United Nations, World Trade Organisation and the World Health Organisation which has undermined their credibility and impartiality (since the time of its inception the UN has been seen as a dummy in the hands of the US) while today the world needs just more than global politics marred by individual interests of nations to a more pluralist and inclusive approach, the unofficial cold war is creating a highly polarised world where the intstitutions are seen as failing publicly. .

The tectonic shift in global alignments brings us back to India’s famed non-alignment movement (NAM) which is futile today, and the European majors like Germany and France along with US supporting India on all fronts be it the security council or the nuclear suppliers group against China, the future economic overtures will also shift from China to other avenues.

For exampe Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has recently announced that he will offer sops to corporations shifting base from China, it is a good economic package, while the US is already engaged in a trade war with China, and the COVID-19 outbreak has dented all the luxury brands and tourist destinations of Europe and America to see a negative growth in their revenues since the Chinese did not spend (yes, they are the largest spending population buying everything from cars to belts and exotic tourist packages!) the global economy will see a shift. There is a possibility of exports of essential commodities between countries also creating some friction, which will again need some balanced management.

With the United Nations possibly slipping out of American hands and China assering itself all over with aid and relief packages the American and European manufacturing giants in a major policy shift will see staggered shifting of production clusters from China to elsewhere and India.

Today the foreign policy that India must follow is supposed to be built on the values of वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् (Vasudaive Kutumbhakam) which means the world is but one family, because and friction between nations today might blow out of proportions and any blind pursuit of greed by the Indian policy makers today will put the Chinese dragon on the defensive while we still can create a peaceful atmosphere of collective growth with India playing the role of a prime arbiter and negotiator in world peace.

An open foreign policy aimed at creating free flow of communication between nations faced with conflict of interest needs a holistic managing skill which only India can provide today.