The world transformed and nobody in the West noticed. India and Pakistan have joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The 17 year-old body since its founding on June 15, 2001 has quietly established itself as the main alliance and grouping of nations across Eurasia. Now it has expanded from six nations to eight, and the two new members are the giant nuclear-armed regional powers of South Asia, India, with a population of 1.324 billion and Pakistan, with 193.2 million people (both in 2016).
In other words, the combined population of the SCO powers or already well over 1.5 billion has virtually doubled at a single stroke.Continue reading →
U.S. President Donald Trump labeled China and Russia ‘rival powers’ to the United States in a Dec. 18 speech. / AP
U.S. major media gave secondary play to President Donald Trump’s national security strategy address Monday, but certain world leaders were all ears.
Russia said the U.S. strategic plan has an “imperial character,” while China decried what it called a “Cold War mentality.”
Trump’s strategy, which he unveiled in a Dec. 18 speech, says that China and Russia “challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity.” Continue reading →
The summit next month will reveal much about the future of Russia’s Eurasian dream.
Since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis there has been a clear shift in the tectonic plates of global geopolitics. An increasingly assertive Russia and China are challenging the U.S.-dominated order in a myriad of ways, but the actual contours of the emerging multipolar world are still hazy. On the one hand, as Huiyun Feng describes in her recent article for TheDiplomat, the two opposing sides seem to be set. The Russia-China Entente and its coterie of Eurasian autocracies seems to be a genuine, lasting phenomenon. Meanwhile, the G-7 is unified in its opposition to Moscow, while the United States has reinforced its Pacific alliances with Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Australia. On the other hand, the path of middle powers such as India, Iran, Brazil, Turkey, and Indonesia remains uncertain. Despite prodding from the United States none of these countries joined Washington in imposing sanctions against Russia and all are interested in profiting from China’s evolving “One Belt, One Road” initiative.
Within a shifting world order, an emerging India is searching for its footing in international relations. Expectations of nascent global influence are high. But the country still falls short of a proactive role in international affairs. At times, India comes across as a difficult partner. For the West to develop a more harmonious relationship with the Asian power it must better understand India and the factors behind the country’s external policies. First, it is necessary to identify the differences between its worldview and that of established powers. The European Union (EU) would err in thinking India is simply part way along a path of convergence towards Western norms and standards. Appreciating the deeply embedded causes of India’s worldview can help the EU mitigate the reserve in its relations with the Asian power.
India’s foreign policy is still relatively embryonic, prudent and constricted. It is driven by self-interest and a policy of non-interference. India is incredibly wary of the tag of hypocrisy often attached to the West. India must not be expected to mould its policies entirely around the norms set by declining Western powers. The new multipolar world order is clearly attractive to India. It allows for more inclusivity, greater equality and a larger say for emerging powers. India increasingly realises that in this new order silence and abstention reverberate loudly. The new order will be strongly conditioned by emerging nations’ own search for new identities. Here are the factors that can help to understand and react productively to India’s evolving foreign policy.