Disruption of what we saw as the World Order was already the case as the world entered the third decade of the third millennium. Strategic competition in Asia is increasing with flashpoints from the Himalayas, the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea and to the Senkaku Islands, showing us a China that is ready to pursue what it sees as its interests also at the cost of its neighbours. The global pandemic has strengthened global disruptive trends.
For India, a changing strategic environment means that it is dealing with a complex set of geopolitical situations, due to the border tensions with China and Pakistan, the situation in Afghanistan as well as China intensifying its relations to Iran, Nepal and Bangladesh—traditionally seen as India’s allies. The complex factors have resulted in a renewed competition for influence over India by the US and Russia, both of which offer to “loan” their strategic power and military hardware to India for its defence and security requirements.
Obviously, strategic cooperation with major powers establishes a two-way street of costs and benefits. Dependence on either Russia or the US runs counter to the Indian drive for self-reliance as it has been articulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and also implemented in a series of actions, particularly in the area of defence.