The geopoliticisation of the Israel-Hamas war has given birth to a new era of ruthlessly pragmatic and overlapping interests of multiple powers and actors. This is visible in the region of Middle Eurasia, the centre of the ongoing rearrangement of the world order.
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Recent attacks on commercial shipping vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden by the Houthis have led to increased costs and global trade disruptions, and drawn the Indian Ocean into the ongoing conflict in West Asia. Most at risk are Indian seamen, who comprise the officer and saillor class of these vessels. Michael Pinto, former Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, Government of India, speaks with us about ensuring maritime security and safe passage.
Maldives’ President Mohammed Muizzu’s desire to have an independent foreign policy has steered it away from India and closer to China. It has added a new dimension to the strategic contestation in the Indian Ocean. Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies, shares his insights on the Maldives’ strategic importance in the region, the ‘India Out’ campaign, and the way forward for Indian diplomacy in South Asia.
The Oslo Accords’ two-state solution for Palestine-Israel, visualised Gaza and the West Bank as self-governing entities under the Palestinian Authority. That political hope existed in an expanding global economy led by the U.S. and secured by American armies, with the promise of capital flows and investments to develop Palestine on its way to statehood. All this changed in the 2000s, as both Israelis and Palestinians became significant regional actors.
The parallel political and security crises in Myanmar and Manipur have led Indian authorities to consider abolishing the Indo-Myanmar Free Movement Regime (FMR). However, without long-term policy efforts to ameliorate the political and economic situation along the border, ending the FMR and fencing the Indo-Myanmar border is unlikely to resolve India’s security problems in the region.
After a year affected by a sustained polycrisis, global geopolitics in 2024 remains a delicate dance between hope and realism. Ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza cast uncertain shadows, while Taiwan and the South China Sea present potential flashpoints. Indian diplomacy will have to navigate old and new challenges, while promoting India’s expertise in digital technology, as also managing its own upcoming parliamentary elections.
From COP to COP, the discussions focus on climate change and its impacts. But none have yet addressed a critical issue: the definition of a “climate refugee” or climate-related forced migration. Some contend that the issue requires a revision in the 1951 Refugee Convention. But with refugee and migrant flows to the borders of Western democracies, the term “refugee” is often re-framed as a concern about preservation of culture and values.
Hamas faces an existential crisis in Gaza now that the Israeli army has captured its military headquarters and operating tunnels in northern Gaza. So far Israel has successfully ignored international pressure to limit its ground operation. In between are the Gazans, caught within an ideology they don’t trust.
By blending Islam, Marxism-Leninism, Arab nationalism, and Third World radicalism during the 1960s, Yasser Arafat succeeded beyond expectations, in impactfully putting the Palestinian question forward for international attention. The spoiler was Hamas, with its jihadi calls for the cause of Palestine and rejection of peace initiatives.
The Israel-Hamas War has shown the devastating impact of disinformation as a strategy of unconventional warfare. This narrative-led approach begins before hostilities start and seeks to set the agenda for leaders, their militaries and geopolitics. Democratic societies like India must prepare for similarly coordinated strategies and build societal resilience to manipulation.