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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : Positioning India in a chaotic world

 Source: The Hindu

 

  • Prelims: Current events of international importance, Regional forums(SCO, NATO, etc)
  • Mains GS Paper II: Significance of SCO for Asia and India, effect of policies of developed and developing countries on India.

 

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, was a test case for governments on how to deal with current conflicts and attempt new guidelines for the future

 

INSIGHTS ON THE ISSUE

Context

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO):

  • SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organization.
  • It’s a Eurasian political, economic and military organization aiming to maintain peace, security and stability in the region.
  • India and Pakistan became members in 2017.

Objectives:

 

 

Why SCO is new non-alignment:

  • Independent course: Steering an independent course despite open association with rival blocs.
  • No sides: India refusing to take sides in the Ukrainian conflict
  • Thanking both Russia and Ukraine: For the evacuation of Indian students from Ukraine, highlighting India’s posture of equidistance between the two countries.
  • Quad: India’s participation in the Quad

 

Issues faced by India because of US sanctions on Iran:

  • Having to pay higher prices for crude
  • Inability to utilize the Chabahar Connectivity Project as an alternate route to Afghanistan.

 

India’s present foreign policy: India’s foreign policy is increasingly appearing passive rather than active:

  • Voting in UN: Abstaining from voting in the United Nations on Ukraine.
  • Immediate neighbourhood: whether Sri Lanka or Afghanistan, where India’s foreign policy prescriptions look better on paper than in reality.

 

Ties with China:

  • Improvement in Indo-China relations: India’s foreign policy should be creative enough to leave an opening for an improvement in India-China relations over the longer term.
  • Civilisational conflict: Current conflict between India and China should not lead India’s strategic establishment to overlook the fact that the primary conflict between India and China is ‘civilizational’, and not for territory.
  • Opportunities: India’s foreign policy framers must look for opportunities for the betterment of relations at an opportune time.
  • Closeness of China-Russia: Manage relations in the near term in the context of the growing closeness in China-Russia relations.

 

Issues related to Nuclear dimension:

  • India has been a firm adherent of the ‘No First Use Doctrine.
  • Wedges between nuclear powers: India cannot afford to overlook the nuclear aspect, as it is wedged between two active, and hostile, nuclear powers — China and Pakistan.
  • Predictable and unpredictable consequences: The growing sophistication of Chinese nuclear forces and to a lesser extent that of Pakistan, which has the effect of putting India at a disadvantage.

 

Way Forward

  • Not to become the odd man out: New priorities need to be devised without squandering the past inheritance of managing to remain independent of conflicting blocs.
  • Manage relations between China and Russia: Our foreign policy experts need to consider how best to manage the relationship with both Russia and China in the extant circumstances
  • Total transformation of the way India’s foreign policy planners: The coming decade promises to be extremely demanding, if not dangerous, with old fashioned geopolitical risks jostling alongside newer political challenges.
  • Giving up existing policy constructs: It may well necessitate giving up many of the existing policy constructs, providing for a wider outreach, and ensuring that our policy is not merely in step with current needs but is always a step ahead
  • Debilitating strategic instability: India should consider how best to prevent ‘debilitating strategic instability with regard to China in particular.

 

QUESTION FOR PRACTICE

  1. Critically examine the aims and objectives of SCO. What importance does it hold for India?(UPSC 2021)

(200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)