The restoration of diplomatic ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia marks the end of a seven-year marathon of indirect confrontations and impasses involving a broad spectrum of actors. It allows both to harvest economic and political benefits. Most importantly, it confirms China’s status as a significant power with influence to unlock broad and complex international agreements.
Courtesy: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
The Indo-Pacific is viewed by powers within and outside the region as both a strategy and policy to interpret the changing geopolitical dynamics in Asia and beyond. But the question of its geographical and geopolitical definition has varied. Opinions among governments and academics have traditionally differed, but over the years, a viable consensus for a wider definition of the concept seems to have emerged.
The Ukraine crisis transferred global anxiety away from China and onto Russia. But this has not happened in the Indo-Pacific, where the Quad countries have followed a policy of economic disengagement from China, in the backdrop of the COVID pandemic and the regeneration of some economies. How the Quad managed this, is a worthwhile assessment.
Russia has been at the center of tensions between the G7 and G20. The current G20 and G7 Presidency has put Asia at the center of global problem-solving and collaboration. India and Japan through its existing strong bilateral and converging interests like economic and financial governance, health, climate commitments and energy transition can bridge the rift between the two multilateral groupings in 2023.
India is currently hosting the Voice of Global South Summit, in which over 120 countries will participate. This is the time, as G20 chair, for India to articulate the concerns of the Global South. To truly represent the South, India must understand the moods and changes in Africa, especially in its external partnerships
Japan’s recently released National Security Strategy document has pathbreaking commitments to strengthen Japan militarily. It reflects a dramatic change over the last decade, when the national threat for pacifist Japan was largely China. Now North Korea and Russia are included, and a Japan with superior defence capabilities will play a larger role in the Indo-Pacific.
2023 brings responsibility and opportunity for India. As the host of the G20 and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the world will be watching closely. With this authority, comes challenges encapsulated by five C’s: Covid, Contraction, Climate crisis, Conflict and China. If India is able to use its opportunity, the year could end with India viewed as a near-great power, an international bridge-builder, and a successful democracy.
A quick look at the list of top Chinese companies shows that the vaunted private sector has receded and the state-owned giants now dominate. Under the new Xi Jinping regime, they are unlikely to relinquish their position. What does this mean for China – and for India?
The BRICS have largely abstained from the UNSC resolution condemning Russia’s attempts to annex four Ukrainian provinces. Is it BRICS solidarity or is it because the interests of the Global North and its allies, and those of the Global South, are diverging?
The relevance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has increased due to the clear divisions developing in the world, since the Ukraine crisis began. Several leaders will probably attend in-person, a chance to advance their regional and economic interests. India has good relations with most SCO countries, and sees the upcoming Summit as a way to secure its strategic and security objectives.