After many early achievements, BRICS is now in gridlock, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, India-China border tensions, and the Ukraine conflict. Despite its apparent diplomatic bankruptcy, 19 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America are eagerly waiting in line to join the grouping.
In 2022, increased sanctions were imposed on Russia by the U.S., E.U., and their allies. The track record of Western sanctions shows they are quick to be imposed, but slow to be removed. In the current environment, it is reasonable to assume that sanctions on Russia will stay in place for a very long time. India should plan its defence and commercial relations accordingly.
The reference to India by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Valdai Discussion Club may be interpreted as encouragement to New Delhi to use its good offices to nudge the warring sides to the negotiating table. Mediation is a big power game, and this may be the right time for India, at the cusp of the G20 Presidency, to start with a record of success
The recent SCO Summit held in Samarkand was significant not only because it was held in-person after three years but also because of its rapid expansion and the increasing attention to economic development. The SCO’s progress on connectivity, commerce and digitalization is relevant for India which takes over the presidency in 2023.
India will be president of the G20 in 2023. The world’s most influential economic governance body is facing an existential crisis, where the major powers have fallen out. With geopolitical currents redefining geo-economics, India needs to be ready to emerge as the chief global diplomat.
The shadow of the Ukrainian war was visible at the G7 summit. Anti-Russian formations were expected, but the extensive reference to China drew attention. The leaders did their part by extensively discussing challenges relating to climate, energy, environment, health, and food security. It is now for the G7 governments to deliver, to be taken seriously.
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.
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.