Published:  01:28 AM, 20 May 2022

The New Moment of India

The New Moment of India
The Non-Aligned Movement, the Soviet Union, and so on and so forth, are now a thing of the past. With which there is no further addition of the present. On the one hand, just as globalization has changed the nature of the human psyche and economic dynamics around the world, so the Ukraine war has changed the dynamics of the post Covid pandemic. At this time, India is not only a big country in South Asia, but also a country inhabited by one-fifth of the world's population and after all, there is no way to deny its economy, military might and economic market. It is only natural that the foreign policy of such a country should change at its own pace, keeping pace with the changing and realities of the world.

Indian Foreign Minister Jayashankar told reporters after talks with his European counterparts in Delhi in the last week of last month that the ongoing Ukraine war was a "wake-up call" for Europe. And a challenge for Asia as well. Because, Asia also has to move forward on the rule based order in the region. Between the lines of his words, the truth is that Europe and America in Asia must do the right thing in that rule-based way. No irresponsibility should be shown. Here Jayashankar brings up the issue of Afghanistan quite emphatically. He says there has been no real government for almost a year now. The country's civil society has been thrown out of the country. In his words, 'thrown from the bus'.

In fact, the biggest problem for Europe at the moment is Ukraine, just as Afghanistan is the biggest problem for South Asia. When a country's educated middle class and thoughtful civil society is excluded from the state, then in reality that country is no longer a country. Afghanistan is occupied by the world- fiery terrorist group Taliban. No one in Europe or America really has that kind of headache in this South Asian country. But they are largely responsible for this situation. Shme Panah, a representative of Afghanistan's think tank civil society, was an adviser to the government that was toppled by the Taliban in Afghanistan. The US-based think tank on Afghanistan said that the US had made an immature decision on Afghanistan. As a result, the situation in Afghanistan is now dire. And a country without a government has been going on for about 9 months. The melody of Shme Panah's words is similar to the melody of Jayashankar's words. And in reality, a real government in Afghanistan, with the addition of an educated, modern middle-class society and a thoughtful civil society without it, not only peace in South Asia, the world will not be free of terrorism. So not only will the Western world be involved in the Ukraine war, it will have to play a role in forming a real government in Afghanistan. As they have done in the past with the help of India, now the only way is open for them.

As I wrote earlier that the Ukraine war will be protracted. Now that the matter is clearer, the war may go on for a long time. Because European countries, especially their big power Germany, say they will stop importing oil from Russia by the end of this year. In fact, it is not surprising that NATO is engaged in an indirect war with Russia over Ukraine, as well as tightening the ongoing economic blockade, even though it may take a few years for this war to end.

In this situation, the time that India is getting, it is seen that they are also slowly making way to move away from Russia. First, Russia's relationship with present-day India is in no way compatible with that of the former Soviet Union. This is a very less relationship. Even then, the foreign policy that India has adopted here implies that they will come out of Russia just like them. And the biggest reason for this is that India does not want the biggest threat at the moment. This China is now a friend of Russia. So India has to decide for itself because of China. As it turns out, not only India, but all the opposing powers of China are now slowly consolidating their power with similar decisions. Although it is not possible quickly. All countries will take time for this. For example, within China and Australia, trade has been growing at the same rate as it was a few years ago, but Australia has slowed it down. And they have a back-to-back trade agreement with India as a military and economic alliance. A review of the trade agreement shows that Australia has allowed India to enter their country much more duty free. Instead, Australian goods will enter India with a higher tariff. Indian students will also get walking visas there on weekends. So that they can earn legally.

In addition, during the visit of the British Prime Minister to India, a stronger working committee has been formed to work on trade between the two countries. Work was already underway to increase trade between the two countries. Following the visit of the British Prime Minister, it is expected that the Committee on Trade between the two countries will reach the stage of Free Trade Agreement between British and India by next October. On the other hand, the discussions that took place during the EU chief's visit to Delhi last month made it clear that the EU was considering how much of its trade with China could be brought to India.

Shortly afterwards, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited three important European countries - Germany, France and Denmark. counterparts of Narendra Modi in all three countries have called on him to stand up against the Ukraine war. He did not take sides in the Ukraine war. However, he called for an end to the war through diplomatic talks. Shri Modi's foreign minister Jayashankar is saying the same thing.

There is a sound in Jayashankar's words about the way Henry Kissinger was instrumental in resolving the Middle East war in 1973. Jayashankar is a great diplomat. He is fluent in Russian along with a few other languages. Moreover, his extramarital affair with Japan. So with the help of America, Central Asia, Asian power Japan and above all Europe, will Jayashankar be able to play the role of Henry Kissinger? Not much hope is seen here. Because, in 1973, America was a very big single power from all sides. Now America does not have that power. Moreover, those with whom Kissinger worked were leaders of much larger stature. In contrast, the situation in Ukraine is different now. Putin, the leader of Ukraine's rival Russia, is not at all like Kissinger's Middle East Egyptian President Anwar Sadat or even Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. Putin is basically a leader like South Korean President Kim or Hitler. Many even put China's XI Ping on the same line with Putin, Kim and Hitler. In fact, it would be wrong to put XI Ping in that line. Although XI Ping is an autocrat, he is not an authoritarian dictator like Putin, Hitler or Kim.

So there is no point in negotiating with dictatorial dictators like Putin or Hitler. Which Churchill realized well during World War II. The leftist Attlee did not understand. Because,  true dictators  always present two kinds of deeds and words together. Normal people or liberal people believe in the logical part because of its mental structure, they want to discuss based on it. Wants to establish peace. But the mindset of dictatorship is to do irrational things till the end. So no matter how much India talks, they have to keep in mind that Putin is not a normal head of state. He is a dictator. The election he went through is far worse than the election of Hitler. When good people are elected through such bad elections or illegal elections, their mental structure also changes. He too eventually became a dictator of strange behavior. Therefore, it is rare in the history of the world that peace talks with dictatorships have finally come to fruition.

So just as India has turned its attention to the European Union to shift its economic horizons, to Australia, so too has it moved away from ASEAN under Trump, but now India will side with Biden again. Besides, Modi has received an invitation from G-7 during his visit to the European Union. But along with this economic diplomacy, India is moving away from its military equipment and military weapons formula. At one time, for historical reasons, India was heavily dependent on the Soviet Union for military equipment. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the adoption of India's liberalization policy, they began to move away from the Soviet Union. Under Modi, an agreement has already been reached to build a US military aircraft plant in India. Now Modi's visit to Europe has shown that they are leaning towards more European weapons. According to media reports, France has already been informed about six modern well equipped submarines for the Indians. The fact that they will buy military equipment from the Germans is also clear from the tone of the talks between the two countries.

In fact, after the Chinese Doklam attack, the issue of India's military equipment came to the fore. With the Ukraine war, it has become much easier for India to move closer to the US and Europe at the moment, to relocate to modernize their military equipment. Basically, the Sino-Indian war of 1962 helped India to become self-sufficient for the first time and they needed modern weapons. Then in the Pakistan-India war of 1965, they fought against modern armaments, but at the end of the war, they realized that for the war, a strong intelligence war is much needed for the country. India steps on that path. Which brought them success in 1971. Even then, India lags far behind the sophisticated armaments of the United States and the Western world. The Ukraine war is pulling India out of its past history and adding sophisticated weapons. And their foreign policy is moving in that direction.

But it is clear that the economic power in the world today is greater than the military power in the war of Ukraine against Russia. So the appointment of their new Foreign Secretary Vinoy Mohan Kwatra is a big proof that India has given up all historical dependence on its foreign policy and given importance to the economy. Vinoy Mohan Kwatra is a career diplomat and has spent most of his career in trade and economics. So his appointment makes it clear that the economy will be emphasized in their diplomacy at the moment. Bring Kwatra here. And by the time he arrives, Modi's two neighbors, Sri Lanka and Nepal, are suffering from an economic crisis. India is now responsible for bringing these two countries out of the economic crisis. With the help of Western-controlled economic world forums of organization, India has to move forward to overcome the economic crisis between the two countries. India has already advanced in Sri Lanka. And they are working fast there. At the moment, India has a big role to play in protecting Sri Lanka's economy by uniting European countries, America and Japan of Asia. India will gradually move away from here. Similarly, China was heavily involved in Nepal's politics and economy - Vinoy Mohan Kwatra, the then High Commissioner to Nepal, and Harsh Vardhan Sringla, their then Foreign Secretary, acted as worthy allies in getting Nepal out of there. Now Nepal is very close to India. Even then, in all the countries of South Asia, China is extending its hand of economic and political aggression. It is also very clear that Vinoy Mohan Kwatra will use his experience in Nepal as an aide to Foreign Minister Jayashankar. On the other hand, a Nepali minister said that Nepal's population on the Chinese border is also low. Moreover, trade and movement is not easy. In that case, only India can give them good cooperation. They remarked that Narendra Modi's visit to Nepal on May 16 is a milestone from there. In fact, in order to solve the economic problems of Sri Lanka and Nepal, India has to give more importance to this.

Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal are currently facing the biggest crisis in South Asia. The current Indian Foreign Secretary has been working on both sides of Afghanistan, including Afghanistan. Succeeded as High Commissioner of Nepal. Therefore, it is clear that his appointment as a worthy collaborator of Jayashankar. And from Shri Narendra Modi to Vinoy Mohan Kwatra, a closer look reveals that they are moving away from the history of the past and moving towards a new foreign policy.

Swadesh Roy is a senior journalist and writer. He received the highest state award for special contribution in journalism.

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