India has done considerable groundwork to turn into a blue economy nation through its maritime policies and active support of the Indian Ocean Rim Association. The time is right for the country to now focus on blue diplomacy, with an emphasis on maritime security and sustainable, equitable harnessing of maritime resources.
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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 Quad Foreign Ministers' meeting held on February 11 is the latest example of growing geopolitical cooperation. Several loci of power have emerged, indicating the end of the post-Cold War western hegemony. China's rise and alliance with Russia hints at a bipolar tendency in this nascent global multipolarity. India must ensure power distribution in Asia by sharpening its diplomacy to achieve its own interest - true multipolarity in Asia.
Renewable energy is trendy, but still unreliable at this early stage. Countries will find it necessary to fall back on traditional energy sources like coal and oil for their needs, and this can lead to energy price spikes. To protect itself from this scenario, now is the time for energy-dependent India to set up a wealth fund that invests in listed oil companies around the world, to reduce the risk of energy insecurity.
Since August 2021, Western Europe has faced a problem with renewable energy, causing it to turn to natural gas as an emergency alternative. This has led to a significant increase in gas prices and has serious implications for fertiliser and food prices. If this trend continues, it will be likely to cause food insecurity especially in poorer nations which do not have the monetary cushion of the West.
Nine great powers and a number of important multilaterals have vested interests in the Indo-Pacific. Given the U.S.-China standoff in the region, the role of new groupings like the Quad and AUKUS is significant. The time is ripe for India to use its position in the region, and convert its humanitarian duties into economic and strategic opportunities in 2022.
The new Omicron variant of COVID-19 has caused concern across the globe, especially in Africa. India has shown solidarity with the continent, extending supplies of Made in India vaccines, drugs and medical equipment. Despite some setbacks, there is vast potential for Indo-African collaboration based on strategic advantages and mutual goals.
The EU's Indo-Pacific strategy, released in September, set the tone for a renewed focus on the region. Europe's Asia connect is rich, strong and multi-layered, laying the foundation for an advantageous position for the EU in the Indo-Pacific. This can be achieved if the EU is more candid with itself, more assertive with China, and more cooperative with India.