The geopolitical order is in a flux, this is more than evident with the War in Ukraine which entered the second year on February 24th this year. Several UN Security Council meetings, resolutions in the UN General Assembly calling for cessation of hostilities have not delivered a peace outcome. The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres has personally appealed to warring leaders and even made visit to Russia and Ukraine in the past one year, however he has not been able to bring about reconciliation. In fact, the conflict seems to be intensifying as millions have been rendered homeless and thousands killed and wounded in mortal combat as well as in missile and drone attacks in civilian areas. Clearly inability of the United Nations to prevent and cease war between two key members of the UN fraternity with one being a member of the P 5 – permanent member of the UN Security Council – Russia - has been starkly exposed.
There are other organisations who have been specifically created such as the OSCE or Organisation for Security Cooperation in Europe which has 57 members with Ukraine and Russia amongst them with the express purpose of conflict prevention. OSCE has also failed in the primary challenge faced by the organisation. The OSCE statement called for an end to violence on 24 February the first anniversary of the commencement of war in Ukraine which has gone largely unheeded.
Amongst the P 5 there are obvious divisions with Russia supported by China on one side and the United States and the European block on the other. This division is reflected across the globe today while there are over 30 countries as India who have attempted to pitch themselves balancing between the two blocks – the West and Russia/China. The balancers have limited influence and are essentially hedging to provide a semblance of autonomy yet many could see them as abetting the continuance of war.
As the G 20 President, India has the onerous responsibility of bringing the two blocks on the same platform particularly so as leader of the Global South the challenges emerging from the Ukraine war in the economic, energy and food security domains require to be urgently addressed.
The G 20 Finance Minister’s meet failed to deliver a joint communique, so did the Foreign Minister’s meeting ongoing on 02 March? Raisina Dialogue the flagship geopolitical discourse set up by India's Ministry of External Affairs from 02 to 04 March is to debate weighty issues that have led to the current impasse.
Multilateralism, multi polarity, non and multi alignment are some of the phrases that have been used to describe policies by these states, but clearly these are not contributing to restoration of global order.
Unilateralism is the order of the day amidst this discontinuity and incoherence as each country is preferring to place national interests above that of larger humanity and beyond the UN Charters. A the G 20 President India has chosen the theme, “'One Earth, One Family, One Future,” at a time when national priorities are dictating geopolitical responses. New Delhi is also guilty when it comes to providing Russia a lifeline over the sanctions by energy and other trade with Moscow.
A prolonged war that exhausts the warring sides and resources – replicating the Second or First World Wars marks dimness at the end of the tunnel. The other could be a catastrophic use of a nuclear weapon – howsoever relatively low yield in terms of kilotons – the devastation caused could be far more than the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Thankfully some powerful voices including India and China have called on Russia the only party which possesses nukes to forsake this option even as flashing of the N Word has been undertaken by top Russian leadership including President Vladimir Putin more than once.
Sustained pressure on the warring sides to resolve the territorial dispute – some say civilisational dispute - through dialogue and diplomacy has not worked so far, due to lack of adequate pressure as the “Blocks,” that have emerged are seeking preservation of self interests rather than universal peace and restoration of order. Peace initiatives such as the most recent one by China lack even a semblance of pragmatism for acceptance by both sides – Russia and Ukraine and are merely platitudes. The action-reaction cycle of Western arms flow to Ukraine and Russian mobilisation and marshalling of reserves is replicated in the economic field in terms of sanctions and evasion. This is the cycle of economic disorder that has been unleashed the impact of which is only just been felt and those like India and China who were seen to benefit from the flow of Russian discounted oil may find the pathway getting difficult ahead as the sanction regime is tightened. What Next, the Global Order seems to be in a Black Hole for now?
So What issues emerge from the Raisina Dialogue that has commenced on March 02 with the inaugural remains to be seen?