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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS :  Asia after Ukraine

Source: Indian Express

 

  • Prelims: Current events of international importance, decolonisation, ASEAN, NATO, etc.
  • Mains GS Paper II: Bilateral, regional and global grouping and agreements involving India or affecting India’s interests.

 

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Russian President is not joining the “season of summits” in Asia.
    • The consequences of his aggression against Ukraine are bound to reshape Asian geopolitics

      

 

INSIGHTS ON THE ISSUE

Context

What is the Conflict?

  • Contestation about post-Cold War central European territoriality and resurrecting a burnished Russian past is at the core of the Ukraine crisis.
  • Ukraine’s bid for NATO membership and Russian interests in the Black Sea accompanied by the protests in the Ukraine are the major causes of the ongoing conflict.

Present developments around Ukraine:

  • Russia retreated from Kherson, which it recently proclaimed as an integral part of Russia.
  • This withdrawal weakens Russia’s hand in any peace negotiations with Ukraine and the US

 

The Ukraine war consequences for Asia:

  • Russia’s misadventure: It will have an important bearing on the triangular dynamic between Russia, China and the US.
    • Russia and China’s partnership with “no limits” and “no forbidden areas”.
  • On the strategic front: realists in China will fear that a weakened Russia will turn the US strategy against China.
    • The immediate compulsions on China will be to stabilize the relationship with the US.
  • New power of the east: Many in Asia had bought into the Russian and Chinese propaganda about the “new power of the East” and the “pathetic dysfunction in the West”.
    • This rhetoric of decline was reinforced by the chaotic withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan.
  • Economic front: The US is doing well on the economic front while China’s growth is slowing down:
  • Indo-Pacific strategy: The conventional wisdom that China would inevitably dominate Asia and the US will have no option but to retreat from the region seems to be a myth.
    • The US’s Indo-Pacific strategy is making steady progress.
  • Threat that Russia might use nuclear weapons in Ukraine:
    • Nuclear power might seize the territory of its neighbors and increase use of nuclear power to hold onto the illegal occupation.
    • Japan’s reaction: It called for a doubling of defense spending in the next five years and to build a significant offensive missile arsenal.
    • Other countries: strengthening their military capabilities and boosting their deterrence against the Chinese threat.
  • Growing integration of European and Asian strategic theaters:
    • The US National Security Strategy articulates that US allies and partners in Europe and Asia will help each other in dealing with the respective challenges of Russia and China.
    • NATO summit in Madrid: It saw the participation of leaders from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea.
  • Diminish Russia on the Asian stage: Aligning with China has further marginalized the role of Russia in Asia.
    • Previous stature:
      • The ASEAN invited Russia to join the East Asia Summit.
      • Japan’s late PM Shinzo Abe made a special effort to encourage Russia to play an independent role in Asian geopolitics.

 

 

Way Forward

  • Neighborhood policy:China could certainly slow down the militarisation and the potential nuclearisation of its periphery by being nice to its neighbors.
  • Changing European policies: They need to reduce the economic dependence on China and contribute to Asian security
  • Russia as third force in Asia: In aligning with China, pursuing an impossible sphere of influence in Central Europe, and launching a costly but failed invasion of a brother nation in Europe, Russia has further marginalized Russia in Asia.
  • A Balanced Approach: India-Russia ties have ensured that India has not been entirely left out of the conversation on Afghanistan, and in Central Asia, while also providing some leverage with the US.
    • At the same time, the US, the EU, and UK are all vital partners, and India’s relations with each of them, and the Western world in general, go far beyond the sum of their parts.

 

 

QUESTION FOR PRACTICE

  1. How will I2U2 (India, Israel, UAE and USA) grouping transform India’s Position in global politics?(UPSC 2022)

(200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)