A three-day online certificate training course on India’s G20 Presidency and Contours of Indian Foreign Policy was organized by #IMPRI Centre for International Relation and Strategic Studies (CIRSS), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi from 14th to 16th March 2023. The second session of day 2 of a three-day immersive online certificate course on India’s G20 Presidency and Contours of Indian Foreign Policy was conducted by Captain Alok Bansal, Director, Centre for Security & Strategy, India Foundation. The subject for this session was India’s Security Challenges in Changing World Order.
The final speaker of the day, Capt Bansal, delved into a thought-provoking discussion on significant global developments. He brought attention to the recent peace deal masterfully negotiated by Xi Jinping, the esteemed President of the People’s Republic of China, between long-standing adversaries Saudi Arabia and Iran. Recognizing the historical animosity between these two nations, Capt Bansal emphasized the criticality of this achievement. While the establishment of diplomatic relations may not instantaneously transform them into friends, it undeniably represents a notable step towards peace. Capt Bansal went on to assert that Xi Jinping’s role in facilitating this breakthrough positioned him as a global leader, highlighting his potential to bring together sworn adversaries.
In addition, Capt Bansal drew attention to Xi Jinping’s planned virtual talks with the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, aimed at resolving the ongoing conflict between the two nations. A successful resolution of this conflict would further solidify Xi Jinping’s status as a global statesman, potentially positioning him as a strong contender for prestigious recognition such as the Nobel Peace Prize. The reverberations of these significant developments and the resolution of the Russia-Ukraine war on the Arab and Islamic world were deemed worthy of close analysis and scrutiny.
Shifting gears to delve into the origins of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Capt Bansal illuminated the broken assurances that had been given to Russia regarding the expansion of NATO eastward after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. As NATO membership expanded to include countries formerly part of the Warsaw Pact, tensions between Russia and the West escalated. In response, Russia launched an offensive against Ukraine, seeking to establish a government with favourable leanings towards Russia. However, Ukraine steadfastly resisted, resulting in a protracted conflict with no clear resolution in sight. Capt Bansal astutely noted that external intervention, such as China’s initiative, played a pivotal role in the quest to bring an end to the conflict.
Capt Bansal emphasized that as Russia found itself increasingly reliant on China amidst the escalating conflict, the potential strengthening of the Sino-Russian axis became a cause for concern from India’s perspective. This alignment, he noted, might not be favourable for India in the long term. The growing closeness between China and Russia could potentially reshape geopolitical dynamics, posing challenges to India’s regional influence and strategic interests.
Furthermore, the implications of the Russia-Ukraine war extended beyond immediate military and political considerations. Capt Bansal astutely recognized the broader consequences on Europe’s energy landscape, specifically highlighting the impact on energy prices. The disruption in the region had the potential to create fluctuations and instability in Europe’s energy markets, with ripple effects reaching global proportions. This volatility in energy prices could have far-reaching economic ramifications, affecting industries and consumers alike.
Capt Bansal’s analysis shed light on the intricate implications of the Russia-Ukraine war. He underscored the initial realignment of European countries away from the United States towards concerns about Russia’s aggression. Additionally, he highlighted the significance of India’s interests, with Russia’s growing reliance on China potentially strengthening the Sino-Russian axis, which may pose challenges for India in the long run. Lastly, Capt Bansal drew attention to the wider impact on Europe’s energy prices, emphasizing the potential for economic instability. His insights served as a reminder of the interconnectedness of global events and the need for careful consideration of their implications on multiple fronts.
Moving to the latest developments in India’s immediate vicinity, he started by directing attention towards the repercussions of recent events in the F-Pac region, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Bansal earnestly acknowledged the setbacks caused by the military coup in Myanmar, the financial crisis in Sri Lanka, and the political turbulence in Nepal. By doing so, he shed light on the fragile state of affairs resulting from these events.
Drawing attention to the perilous situation created by the Taliban’s presence in Afghanistan, Capt Bansal underscored the potential consequences of increased radicalization and the expansion of their ideology beyond Afghanistan’s borders. He emphasized that this posed a significant threat to regional security, including the security of India itself. The gravity of the situation was not to be underestimated, as the influence of the Taliban could extend far beyond the confines of Afghanistan, potentially destabilizing the entire region.
Furthermore, Capt Bansal delved into Pakistan’s relevance in the aftermath of the Taliban’s triumph in Afghanistan. He elucidated the economic crisis gripping Pakistan, characterized by dwindling foreign exchange reserves and challenges in securing additional funding from friendly nations. The Pakistani rupee had experienced a substantial depreciation, exacerbating the already dire situation by causing a fuel crisis and hindering the country’s ability to pay for imports. The reluctance of foreign banks to open letters of credit for Pakistan’s oil imports further compounded the difficulties faced by the nation.
In conclusion, Capt Alok Bansal placed paramount importance on recent global developments, specifically highlighting the significance of the peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as the determined efforts made by Xi Jinping to resolve the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
He expressed his deep concerns about the profound implications stemming from the Russia-Ukraine war, the presence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and Pakistan’s ongoing economic crisis. These developments, he stressed, had far-reaching consequences, significantly impacting both regional and global security. Therefore, it was imperative to meticulously analyze and comprehend their repercussions to effectively address the challenges that lay ahead. The ever-changing dynamics of these circumstances required careful attention and strategic considerations to ensure a secure and stable future for the region and the world at large.
Mahek is a Research Intern at IMPRI.
Read more session reports from Day 2 of India’s G20 Presidency and Contours of Indian Foreign Policy: