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State PCS

Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. The new global order poses a challenge for India to make its presence felt like an emerging power in the present global order. Discuss. (250 Words)

    05 Jan, 2022 GS Paper 2 International Relations


    • Start with the new global order developing in the present times.
    • Discuss how the new global order poses a challenge for India to make its presence felt in the world.
    • Discuss the way forward.


    Present Global Order

    • The world is adrift today. We are neither in a bipolar Cold War nor in a multipolar world, though perhaps tending towards a world of several power centres. We are in a world between orders.
    • The lack of a coherent international response to the Covid-19 pandemic is proof of an absence of international order and of the ineffectiveness of multilateral institutions. So is the ineffective international response to climate change and other transnational threats.
    • A retreat from globalisation, the regionalisation of trade, a shifting balance of power, the rise of China and others, and structural China-United States strategic rivalry have shifted the geopolitical and economic centres of gravity from the Atlantic to Asia.
    • Inequality between and within states has bred a narrow nationalism and parochialism. We are entering a new polarised information age, and face ecological crises of the Anthropocene, making climate change an existential threat.

    Challenges For India

    • A Stronger China: China is the only major country that had a positive growth rate at the end of 2020, and its economy is poised to grow even faster in 2021.
      • Militarily, China has further strengthened itself and now seeks to dominate the Indo-Pacific Ocean with its announcement of its third aircraft carrier’s launch in 2021.
      • In this context, any breakthrough in Sino-Indian relations is unlikely to occur, and the confrontation between Indian and Chinese armed forces is expected to continue.
    • Growing Russia-China Axis: Russia is beginning to display more significant interest in its periphery’s affairs. Moreover, the sanctions imposed on Russia after Crimea's annexation in 2014 has pushed Russia towards a tighter embrace of China.
      • This seems to signal reduced interest in countries such as India.
      • Also, India’s closeness to the U.S. has weakened its links with traditional friends such as Russia and Iran.
    • Self-Imposed Isolation of India: Currently, India remains isolated from two important supranational bodies of which it used to be a founding member, viz., the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
      • Moreover, India has opted out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
      • This self-imposed isolation doesn’t synergise with India’s aspiration of becoming a global power.
    • Weakening Ties with Neighbours: A more worrying concern for Indian foreign policy is weakening ties with the neighbours.
      • This can be seen from instances like China’s Cheque Book Diplomacy vis-a-vis Srilanka, strain in relation with Bangladesh on NRC issue and recent border controversy with Nepal due to the release of the new map.

    Way Forward

    • The uncertainty and changing geopolitical environment clearly pose considerable challenges to Indian policy but also throw up certain opportunities, enhancing our strategic options and diplomatic space, if we adjust policies internally and externally, particularly in the subcontinent.
      • We should aim for multipolarity in Asia.
    • Issue-based Coalitions: India must adjust to changing circumstances. It has no choice but to engage with this uncertain and more volatile world. One productive way to do so would be through issue-based coalitions including different actors, depending on who has an interest and capability.
    • Revive SAARC: India could be the primary source of both prosperity and security in the neighbourhood — the subcontinent and the Indian Ocean Region. The over securitisation of policy towards our neighbours has driven trade underground, criminalised our borders, and enabled large-scale entry of Chinese goods destroying local industry in the northeast.
      • While lessening dependence on China, and seeking external balancing, our primary effort has to concentrate on self-strengthening.
    • Self-strength is key: Several steps that India can take in ensuring its role and influence abroad continue to serve the task of transforming India. Economic policy must match political and strategic engagement.
      • Globalisation has been central to India’s growth. A more active regional and international role for India is incompatible with a position on the margins of the global economy.
    • External Aid in Adequate Measure: The current standoff with China has reinforced JL Nehru’s belief in 1963 that India needs “external aid in adequate measure”.
      • In this context, India will need continuing support from the US, Japan, Australia, besides European leaders such as France, Germany and the UK.
      • India should appreciate European entry into the Indo-Pacific narrative, as France and Germany have already come up with their Indo-Pacific strategy.

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