India must seek nonaligned partnerships which can work together outside the influence of the U.S., China and Russia.
From all accounts, the Cold War is breaking out again. The United States has identified both China and Russia as adversaries, whose leaders, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, are strong and determined to stand up to a faltering (to stop being strong or successful) Donald Trump, who is desperately clinging on to doctrines of ultranationalism and nuclear hegemony (Leadership or dominance, especially by one state or group over others).
The Russia dare
Mr. Putin has just announced that Russia has invincible doomsday machines like an underwater drone armed with a nuclear warhead powerful enough to sweep away coastal facilities, aircraft carriers and a hypersonic vehicle impossible to intercept as it flies in a cloud of plasma “like a meteorite”.
Cuba is in the dog house again and the “axis of evil” has emerged once again under Iran’s leadership. This time it is a three-cornered Cold War, without any corner having committed countries to act together as military allies. Potential allies are hedging (protect oneself against loss on (a bet or investment) by making balancing or compensating transactions), with no viable grouping to protect the interests of the weak and the poor. If the Cold War is here in a new form, can a reincarnation of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) be far behind?
NAM is anathema (something or someone that one strongly dislikes; someone who is cursed or shunned) today even to those who helped shape it and reveled (to take intense pleasure or satisfaction) in it for years. India was one of its leaders, if not the leader. India had a stake in its integrity and India toiled (work extremely hard or incessantly) tirelessly to keep it on the middle road, not to be hijacked by Cuba to the left or Singapore to the right. We fought to keep Egypt within it when every Arab country wanted it to be ousted in 1979 after the Camp David agreements. Indira Gandhi risked a bear hug from Fidel Castro as she took the NAM gavel to save it from the uncertain leadership of Iraq. Had it not been for India, NAM would have been wound up at a ministerial meeting in Ghana in 1991 soon after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. It was characterised as the “last gasp of the old style radicals”.
India argued vehemently against those who felt that NAM had outlived its utility. Since the essence of nonalignment was freedom of thought and action, India insisted that it was valid whether there was one bloc or no bloc. Even while building alliances with others, we availed of the NAM umbrella to promote our national strategies when it suited us. The very lack of homogeneity and unity in NAM enhanced its utility for us. One forum where we effectively used the NAM constituency was the Working Group on UN Reform, where we blocked an effort by the U.S. and others to add Germany and Japan as permanent members and close the doors for further expansion.
An effort was made in 2012 to craft a ‘Nonalignment 2.0’ in the context of the new global situation, India’s growing importance and the rivalry between the U.S. and China. The report moved the concept of nonalignment away from its origins. It reiterated that India needed to move quickly to extend its global role and influence. But the authors said India’s big challenge would be to aim at not just being powerful but to set new standards for what the powerful must do. India’s legitimacy in the world will come from its ability to stand for the highest human and universal values and at the global level, “India must remain true to its aspiration of creating a new and alternative universality.”
In a situation where the world is no longer bifurcated (to cause to divide into two branches or parts)between two dominant powers, nonalignment today will require managing complicated coalitions and opportunities in an environment that is not structurally settled, the report said. The policy of “strategic autonomy” recommended that India should not take sides in the rivalry between China and the U.S. The report emphasised that for its strategic and foreign policy to be successful, India must sustain domestic economic growth, social inclusion and democracy.
Coming as it did in the wake of a strategic partnership with the U.S., a revival of NAM, even with caveats (a warning or proviso of specific stipulations, conditions, or limitations) of various kinds, did not seem to appeal either to the Manmohan Singh government or the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. For Prime Minister Narendra Modi too, NAM was nothing but a relic (a trace of some past or outmoded practice, custom, or belief) of the Nehruvian past and it did not form part of his vocabulary.
As he pursued his priorities of development, security, neighbourhood and the diaspora, maintaining a constituency of the poor nations of the world had no place. In his transactional foreign policy, it is easier to act alone rather than as the spokesperson of a group. It was no wonder, therefore, that he did not find it necessary to attend the NAM Summit in Venezuela in 2016. India, which conceived and nursed the concept, was ready to cast it into the dustbin of history. We began a journey from the leadership of the super poor to become a super power.
Where we stand today
Into the second half of his term, Mr. Modi’s balance sheet shows an altogether different scenario. As a close defence partner of the U.S. and a member of the “Quadrilateral”, India is right in the U.S. camp. As the baton of the orchestra passed into the hands of a wayward conductor, the new symphony in India-U.S. relations promised in 2016 has not quite materialised. Both China and Russia, which have been identified as adversaries in the U.S. world view, have their problems with India. Doklam and the Maldives have shown that China is in no mood for a compromise. In fact, China has attributed the increase of its defence budget to the formation of the Quadrilateral, which is being seen as a direct threat to China.
An obvious way is to revive NAM by breathing new life into it and making it fit to deal with the new norm. But it has baggage, which may be difficult to unload. A movement conceived in the context of a bipolar world may not suit a tripolar world, which could become a multipolar world. A partnership of near equals like IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa) with similar interests without any ideological conflict is probably the best model to follow. Something on the lines of the G-15 organised by India and like-minded countries some years ago could be put together with the objective of dealing with the kind of issues identified by Mr. Modi at Davos — climate change, terrorism and protectionism. The members may have links with the U.S., China and Russia, but should be able to work together without the undue influence of the three.
Mr. Modi is not someone who will hesitate to think out of the box to achieve his objectives. Given the present impasse (a situation in which no progress is possible, especially because of disagreement; a deadlock) in international relations with little leeway for game-changing initiatives, India will do well to move away from being a camp follower of one of the emerging poles to create our own fourth pole.
Courtesy-The Hindu (National)
1. Flter (verb) : (To stop being strong or successful) (लड़खड़ाना, डिगना)
Synonyms: Stumble, Stagger, Totter, Vacillate, Wobble
Antonyms: Steady, Determinate, Thrive, Succeed, Burgeon
Example: When the bank teller noticed that the masked man began to falter slightly, she discreetly pressed the silent alarm.
Verb forms: Falter, Faltered, Faltered
Related words: Falterer, Falter (noun) Falteringly (adverb)
2. Hegemony (noun) (Leadership or dominance, especially by one state or group over others.) (नायकत्व, नेतृत्व, प्राधान्य)
Synonyms: Leadership, Dominance, Dominion, Supremacy, Ascendancy, Predominance, Primacy
Antonyms: Self-Government, Repression, Oppression, Dictatorship
Example: When the dictator was chased out of the country, his hegemony over the people came to an end.
Related words: Hegemonic, Hegemonical (adjective)
3. Hedge (verb) : (Protect oneself against loss on (a bet or investment) by making balancing or compensating transactions) (नुकसान होने से स्वयं को बचाना)
Synonyms: Dodge, Fence, Evade, Elude
Antonyms: Confront, Face Up
Example: The company hedged its investment position on the futures market.
Verb forms: Hedge, Hedged, Hedged
Related words: phrase:- ‘hedge against’(to protect oneself from (something))
Hedger (noun) Hedgingly (adverb) Hedge (adjective)
4. Anathema (noun) : (Something or someone that one strongly dislikes; someone who is cursed or shunned.) (अभिशाप)
Synonyms: Curse, Execration, Malediction, Abomination, Imprecation
Antonyms: Blessing, Benediction, Benison, Boon
Example: The epidemic which killed dozens of small children was an anathema to the residents of the town.
5. Revel (verb) : (To take intense pleasure or satisfaction) (आनंद लेना)
Synonyms: Binge, Frolic, Gambol, Rollick, Romp, Spree
Antonyms: Grieve, Distress, Grumble, Bemoan, Affliction
Example: After the game, the football players went to a bar to revel in their victory.
Verb forms: Revel, Revelled, Revelled
Related words: Phrase:- ‘revel in’(to enjoy (something) very much)
Reveller, Revelment (noun)
6. Toil (verb) : (Work extremely hard or incessantly.) (कड़ी मेहनत करना, सख़्त श्रम करना)
Synonyms: Drudgery, Spadework, Diligence, Sedulity, Travail
Antonyms: Idle, Dormancy, Lethargy, Carelessness, Indolence
Example: You should hire Justin because he is a hard worker who will toil until the job is done.
Verb forms: Toil, Toiled, Toiled
Related words: Toilful (adjective) Toilfully (adverb) Toiler (noun)
7. Bifurcate (verb) : (To cause to divide into two branches or parts) (दो शाखाओं में बांटना, द्विभाजन)
Synonyms: Split, Separate, Bisect, Ramify, Furcate, Dichotomize
Antonyms: Combine, Bind, Affiliate, Merge, United,Amass
Example: The bifurcate system limited the control for the company so that both departments helped control each other.
Verb forms: Bifurcate, Bifurcated, Bifurcated
Related words: Bifurcate (adjective) Bifurcately (adverb) Bifurcation, (noun)
8. Caveat (noun) : (A warning or proviso of specific stipulations, conditions, or limitations.) (चेतावनी, प्रतिवाद)
Synonyms: Caution, Warning, Admonition, Remonstrance, Stipulation
Antonyms: Consonance, Approval, Agreement, Commendation
Example: The caveat of the contract includes a penalty fee if the loan is not repaid on time.
9. Relic (noun) : (A trace of some past or outmoded practice, custom, or belief) (अवशेष, निशानी, पुरावशेष)
Synonyms: Souvenir, Vestige, Trail, Keepsake, Antique, Remnant, Remembrance
Antonyms: Forethought, Forgotten, Amnesia, Oblivion
Example: The piece of pottery was a relic of the past that evoked in me a feeling of nostalgia.
Related words: phrase:-‘ relic of the past’ (something no longer used or considered modern)
10. Impasse (noun) : (A situation in which no progress is possible, especially because of disagreement; a deadlock.) (गतिरोध, रुकावट, अड़चन, कठिन स्थिति)
Synonyms: Deadlock, Predicament, Standstill, Plight, Quandary
Antonyms: Headway, Progress, Sledding, Betterment, Furtherance
Example: Yesterday, the two parties did not make any progress on the contract terms because they had reached an impasse.