China’s expansionist nuclear programme aims to bolster its capabilities, so much so, that Beijing's predictions boast 2500 new warheads by 2030, thus rivalling the American and Russian arsenals. As the dragon quadruples its nuclear propensity, heralding the world to something greatly unstable – a tripolar nuclear system; nuclear peace seems a quite convoluted goal.
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The warning signs were visible long before the Ukraine conflict. Years of insufficient investment into oil and gas production resulted in high price, and shortages. With investors keeping away from traditional fuels, the conflict in Ukraine precipitated the inevitable. Energy-dependent India must now insulate its supply chains.
The EU has been working on an India engagement for two decades now – a strategic partnership and a free trade engagement. It is finally being realised – the outcome of the visit of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to Delhi this month. The upgraded, ambitious partnership Europe’s long overdue pivot to India.
The Sino-U.S. contestation is a central tenet of the Indo-Pacific. In this power tussle, the EU strategy for the region provides a new way to engage with partners in the "Third Space" for a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific.
A shift is taking place in the business of global dominance and hegemony, from the model of expressing force through troop presence to financial sanctions. But China and Russia, in concert, may provide a way out of the sanctions regime.
The crisis in Ukraine has highlighted the role of both Russia and the West in sophisticated hybrid warfare and disinformation campaigns. The aim is to create a multiplicity of narratives, which fragment the understanding of the opponent. The mind battles are on.
The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics came to a close on 20 February. It was marked by Covid restrictions, athlete dramas, and a united diplomatic boycott by Western democracies citing human rights concerns in Xinjiang, a boycott India later joined for Galwan-related issues. In contrast with the unity presented by China and Russia with summit meetings in the lead up to the Olympics, shifting alliances are now the norm.
The current crisis in Europe is a lesson in the diplomatic costs of lost opportunities, of reforming NATO as a basis for constructing a new security architecture in Europe at a time when such reform was possible. Now perhaps it is too late.
The India-Russia leaders’ summit and ministerial meetings in New Delhi on Dec. 6, scored big. Differences were set aside to make transformative progress in defence, fintech and connectivity among other sectors, commencing a new era of India-Russia relations fit for the 21st century.
Big Tech is powerful and its profits are growing - by 105% over the last year. It dominates economies. This raises concerns about data protection and privacy, anti-trust, fintech and the specific role of intermediaries. India is leading the way on fintech, but is behind several countries and institutions on digital rules. It is important to establish laws and rules to govern technology – whether domestic or through multilateral bodies – with the aim to strike the right balance between innovation and regulation.