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.
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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.
It has been a year since the democratically elected Myanmar government was overthrown in a military coup. Since then, economic instability and the pandemic have taken a toll on the nation. ASEAN's mediatory endeavours and Western sanctions have shown limited results. New Delhi's diplomacy must support ASEAN, while remaining pragmatic and protecting its interests in the country.
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.
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla's visit to Myanmar has implications for New Delhi's recognition of the new military government in Naypyidaw. India can support ASEAN to stabilise Myanmar, while also checking Chinese influence in that country. For stability in the neighbourhood is crucial to India's own security.
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 Imperial Bank of India completed a hundred years in 2021. This Bombay Presidency institution is the precursor of the State Bank of India, which was a retail bank but also performed central bank duties. In this podcast, Sifra Lentin discusses the legacy of what was once the Indian subcontinent's oldest, largest bank.
Last month, an Indian delegation led by Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla, visited Myanmar and met with the military leadership. Bilateral discussions prioritised border security, economic cooperation and refugee issues. New Delhi must carefully balance its relations with Naypyitaw, with a dual focus on cross-border projects and restabilising democratic rule in the country.
India has a long-standing and unique relationship with Africa. However, China's presence and influence has resulted in geopolitical competition, with the two Asian nations vying to expand and deepen their engagement with Africa. Beijing's footprint is considerable, with a long-term strategic objective. To strengthen ties with the continent, New Delhi must match Beijing's ascendancy and lay down mutually beneficial goals. The excerpt from this expansive book on Indo-African engagement examines the Chinese presence in Africa, African agency in external partnerships and the importance of recognising African needs to devise better policies by competing nations.