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The horizon for India beyond the G20, SCO summits

An Outline

Today we will be discussing about The horizon for India beyond the G20, SCO summits. India’s year-long presidency of the G20 and leadership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) should be undertaken with caution as it faces persisting challenges due to a concatenation of circumstances. The country needs to tone down its high expectations and be aware of the declining importance of the G20 in today’s world. Global peace is nowhere in sight, and the deteriorating geopolitical climate points to a distinct possibility of impending conflict. Priorities listed by India may take a back seat, and hopes of reaping a rich dividend from the summitry may be misplaced.

Two camps and distrust: Distrust between the two camps led by the United States and China/Russia, respectively, leaves little scope for countries such as India, which have not declared their allegiance to either camp, any room for manoeuvre. Ukraine is at the centre of this conflict, and the U.S. and its allies are providing it with an arsenal of sophisticated weaponry, risking the threat of a global conflict.

The issues for India begin with China: Apart from the war clouds on the horizon in Europe and tensions in the East Pacific, there are several issues of deepening concern for India. Foremost is how to deal with a rampaging China, currently on a major diplomatic-cum-strategic offensive across Asia, especially West Asia. China’s growing naval prowess and flexing of its military muscle in the Ladakh and Arunachal sectors of the Sino-Indian border pose a threat to India. China is also seeking to widen the arc of conflict with India, targeting it for going closer to the U.S. and the western bloc, for its partnership in the Quad, as well as its participation in maritime surveillance exercises with the U.S., Japan, and Australia. India must be cautious in its response to China’s hostile intentions overall.

The neighbourhood and Russia: Other turmoils in India’s immediate neighbourhood in South Asia, compound India’s problems. The situation in Afghanistan appears to be steadily worsening, and India has lost all traction with the Taliban. Russia remains a key ally of India and plays an important role in the country’s defence and energy sectors.

Conclusion: India needs to balance the contradictory demands of the G20 and the SCO and even more so that of the Global South. It needs to proceed with caution and avoid grandstanding as it leads these two institutions. The country must be aware of the complex geopolitical climate and focus on resolving the persisting challenges it faces.

Possible UPSC CSE Mains questions

  1. Explain the significance of the distrust between the two camps led by the United States and China/Russia, and its impact on India’s manoeuvring space.
  2. Analyze the issues that India faces with China’s growing diplomatic-cum-strategic offensive across Asia, especially West Asia.
  3. Assess the impact of the war clouds on the horizon in Europe and tensions in the East Pacific on India’s geopolitical position.
  4. Evaluate the significance of Russia as a key ally of India, particularly in the defence and energy sectors.
  5. Discuss India’s response to the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and its loss of traction with the Taliban.
  6. Explain the importance of India’s participation in the Quad and its partnership with the western bloc, and how it affects China’s hostile intentions towards India.
  7. Assess the challenges that India faces in balancing the contradictory demands of the G20 and the SCO, and how it should proceed with caution.

Possible UPSC CSE Prelims questions

1. What are the challenges faced by India as it undertakes its year-long presidency of the G20 and leadership of the SCO? 

a) Declining importance of the G20 and deteriorating geopolitical climate 

b) Two camps led by the United States and China/Russia, respectively, leaving little room for manoeuvre for countries like India 

c) Issues with a rampaging China and turmoil in India’s immediate neighbourhood in South Asia 

d) All of the above

Answer: d) All of the above

2. What is the primary concern for India with regards to China? 

  1. China’s growing naval prowess and flexing of its military muscle in the Ladakh and Arunachal sectors of the Sino-Indian border pose a threat to India. 
  2. China’s participation in maritime surveillance exercises with the U.S., Japan, and Australia. 
  3. China’s hostility towards India for its partnership in the Quad. 

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1,2 and 3

Answer: d) All of the above

3. What should India focus on as it leads the G20 and the SCO? 

a) Grandstanding and high expectations 

b) Balancing contradictory demands of the G20 and the SCO and that of the Global South c) Focusing on increasing tensions with China 

d) Losing all traction with the Taliban in Afghanistan

Answer: b) Balancing contradictory demands of the G20 and the SCO and that of the Global South