The Ukraine Crisis:Challenges to India’s Foreign Policy

THE UKRAINE CRISIS : CHALLENGES TO INDIA’S FOREIGN POLICY

 On August 1, 2022, Pune International Centre, Takshashila Institution
and XKDR Forum jointly organised a day-long national symposium on The Ukraine Crisis: Challenges to India’s Foreign Policy. 

 This symposium was addressed by some of India’s best minds in foreign policy, defence, economics, technology and strategic affairs (see below forspeakers, agenda). It closely examined the many dimensions of the Russia-Ukraine war. Immensely tragic for the people directly affected, the war has upset the world order, put enormous stress on the global economy and has thrown up fresh challenges in diplomacy and international relations. India has taken a firm and independent view of the situation based on her national interest. All of this has posed challenges for the future, especially from the Indian perspective. The symposium highlighted and discussed these issues.

 Here are the quick read Takeaways from the symposium:

           POLITICS & DIPLOMACY

  • The Ukraine Crisis shows us that – we cannot seek 20th Century solutions for 21st Century problems. 21st Century problems demand 21st Century solutions. We now live in a less safer, unstable world. Use offorce will be more and more prevalent.  Longer this war continues – the more it will hurt all across the globe. A long war will be disastrous for all nations.
  • Many of the participants in this war have lost – not merely Ukraine but also Russia, the EU and the United States. If at all there is any nation which has benefited it is China. That is not good for India given Chinese animosity towards us and its recent positioning vis-à-vis India.
  • Russia will emerge from this war – a weaker State. Even tacit military cooperation between Russia and China will be bad for India. Open military cooperation between the    
  • Is    India a global swing State? Don’t have an answer to this question but as the soon-to-be Chair of the G-20, it is incumbent on India to work with other middle powers or the Global South to fully explore conflict resolution.    
  • India and Russia are BFF. It is a pity that Government of India was not more critical of Russia as there was no excuse for Russia to wage war on Ukraine. However, can we leverage our partnership with Russia to get it out of China’s stranglehold?
  • India will have to beef up its military power to ensure that China cannot push it around.

                 ECONOMICS

  • Before the war, both Russia as well as Ukraine were stagnant from an economic perspective.
  • The war will damage Ukraine almost permanently. The destruction of the capital stock in Ukraine is significant. It will take almost US $ 1 trillion to rebuild Ukraine.
  • Impact of sanctions on Russia has been significant. 
  • This is because Russia was deeply integrated into the world economy. Now, the West is pulling the plug on that integration.
  • This is because Russia was deeply integrated into the world economy. Now, the
  • West is pulling the plug on that integration.   
  • Globalization seems to be alive and well. Global trade
  • has increased by 3% in 2022 so far. However, nations seem to be placing more emphasis on peace or good behavior. Globalization is for those nations which behave well.
  •  In a race between geopolitics and geo-economics, politics will lead.
  • Global firms have taken losses in both Russia as well as China.
  • India is integrated with the West (not Russia). India
  • should deepen these economic ties and integration with the West.
  • A more limited form of globalization will ensue where a premium will be placed in international good behavior. This will be globalization amongst countries which behave themselves.
  • This is a gain for India vis-à-vis China.
  • The best foreign policy for India is 8% economic growth over an extended period of time.
  •  India must pursue 3rd generation economic reforms with focus on taking Government out of business.
  • India also needs to focus on empowering the public sector – that is, making it more competent and efficient.

          TECHNOLOGY

  •            Economic interdependence does not prevent war. Economic interdependence can be weaponized. In modern warfare – not only which Army wins matters. Whose narrative wins also matters.
  •          India is a vital node in the global technology ecosystem. There are opportunities for us which we can leverage.
  •        India can share its digital public infrastructure with the broader world.
  •        There is a hi-tech worker shortage across the globe. 
  •        Further opportunities for India. 
  •        Opportunities for critical technology transfer to India are increasing.

          DEFENCE

  •        India must seek deterrence from – land, sea, air, cyber and space.
  •        To win a war – people, ideas and things have to come together. The ability to do so successfully is key to defending India.
  •      We must give thought to the Armed Forces we Need – not merely to what we have. Do we have the resources and the capabilities to build the Armed Forces we Need?
  •      Indian Armed Forces need a Technology Strategy also.
  •      Why has Russia not succeeded in its war with Ukraine? Answer lies in the wide dispersion of Russian forces. Further Russia has a conscript Army. Russian Non-Commissioned Officers have not done well and have not been successful.
  •      India needs to ask itself – How would China fight a war against us? They would open up a wider front so as to disperse Indian forces. Most likely, they would also extend it to air and space.
  •       India must also ask itself the question – Do alliances help? Ukraine miscalculated and became a patsy for a Russia – US war. 

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 Suggested Readings:

The Ukraine Crisis Should Force New Delhi to Rethink Its Russia Policy
By Manjari Chatterjee Miller
https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/india/2022-02-22/indias-faltering-nonalignment 

      Helping India replace Russia in the value arms market
By Vasabjit Banerjee and Benjamin Tkach
https://warontherocks.com/2022/05/helping-india-replace-russia-in-the-value-arms-market/

      Downstream from the war in Ukraine
By Ajay Shah and Gautam Bambawale
https://www.business-standard.com/article/opinion/downstream-from-the-war-in-ukraine-122080700901_1.html

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