On May 6, 2022, Amb. Rajiv Bhatia presented his remarks at the BRICS Think Tank Symposium held in Chongqing, China. Ambassador Bhatia traced the Ukrainian war crisis and its linkage to the grouping, while also elucidating that the Sino-Indian stalemate on transboundary disputes, UNSC membership permanency and leadership within the global south has harmed effective resolutions in the multilateral forum.
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Africa as a zone of Sino-Indian contestation has intensified in the COVID era, where both countries extended support to the continent in diverse sectors of human security. Africa needs capacity, and building it means it will not make a choice between India and China, but it will prioritise its own needs and select separately what it needs from both countries
China has established a dominant presence in the Indo-Pacific through exploitative economic engagements. This has destabilised smaller nations in the region and made them dependent on Chinese support. For a free and open Indo-Pacific, India must press its advantage in human and economic capacity building.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has been focused on resolving the Afghan crisis. But divergent views of members and the influence of China and Pakistan have eluded a solution. This has been further impeded by the ongoing sanctions and humanitarian issues which are beyond the organisation's scope.
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.
China's 2022 defence budget reflects the seriousness of the Communist Party aims to fully modernise the People’s Liberation Army by 2027. Given the on-going border competition, it is crucial for India too, to optimise budgetary resources, intensify restructuring and enhance indigenous defence production, thereby improve power projection capability.
BIMSTEC is of special importance to India as it is a crucial link between the Neighbourhood First and Act East policies. This almost 25 year old multilateral can contribute to the Indo-Pacific region by addressing challenges in strategic areas of regional connectivity, security cooperation, free trade, and geoeconomic ties with external partners.
In the last two decades, there have been three India-Africa summits, a testament to the growth of bilateral relations. Rajiv Bhatia's book, India-Africa Relations: Changing Horizons, highlights Africa’s emergence as a global powerhouse, with several countries vying for a stake in the region. India’s unique political and economic development model appeals to the African, and can be used to forge an enduring relationship with the continent.
The Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, held in Melbourne on February 11, revealed an ambitious plan for economic and developmental affairs, beyond the security concerns posed by China. Despite differing approaches towards Myanmar and Ukraine, the Quad countries are strengthening their cooperation while maintaining strategic autonomy.
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.