General Studies Paper 2

Context: The article explains the dilemma posed by Ukraine war for India foreign policy makers.

What is the Russian stand regarding the Ukraine war?

  • As per Putin, the Ukrainian nation does not exist, and it is an inalienable part of Russia’s history, culture and spiritual space.” Such claims are made by hegemonic states to hide their intentions for dominance.
  • Putin has accused the US and Europe of bad faith. Gorbachev was given assurance that NATO would advance “not an inch eastward”. This undertaking was allegedly violated when NATO included 10 former Warsaw Pact members.

How has conflict posed a dilemma for New Delhi?

  • It remains engaged with Russia and China in the BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), while also partnering with the US in the Quad and Malabar groupings. India simultaneously holds presidencies of the G20 and SCO. India will need a “tightrope walk” while maintaining “strategic autonomy”.
  • The increasing closeness of Moscow with Beijing gives Beijing great leverage. It impacts Russia’s capacity to pursue independent relations with other states, especially India.
  • There is a rapid decline in Russia’s capability as a defence supplier. It should be a cause of worry for India.
  • The Quad and Malabar groupings show the convergence of US and Indian strategic interests. But their overall impact has been underwhelming. China sees this grouping as a potential impediment to its hegemonic grand plan. The Quad members except the US have also shown nervousness in their responses to China. Quad meetings have empahasised that the grouping has no security implications and is not an “Asian NATO”.

What are prospects of Indo-US cooperation in assisting India in improving the security scenario of India?

  • In September 2021, Australia, the UK and US announced the formation of a trilateral security pact, AUKUS. Under it, the US and Britain will share many advanced technologies with Australia and would also assist it in acquiring a nuclear attack submarine force.
  • AUKUS shows that there is complete absence of any similar offer of training, military technology or hardware, by the US to India. This is despite the strategic partnership and Indo-US civil nuclear deal and a host of defence-related agreements.
  • An Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) was announced in May 2022 by Joe Biden. It remains to be seen if iCET results in significant sales or transfer of technology to India or ends up like other Indo-US agreements.

What are the options for India to increase independence in defence supplies?

  • Weak performance of India’s military-industrial complex has made it import-dependent for weaponry.
  • While “atmanirbharta” is a good. But technology has long gestation periods. India should draw useful lessons from China.
  • China has employed reverse engineering, coercion, and even blatant theft to acquire military technology from the USSR and the West.
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