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One year of Russia Ukraine war and the shift towards multipolar world

Niranjan Bhombe

Soham Athavale

14 March 2023

"Now it has been one complete year for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We all have been getting...."

.....updates for the past year regarding the incidents on the warfront. But major changes have been observed in the policies of the countries around the world.

It is seen that the world is now drifting towards a multipolar nature. Initially since World War 2 the global politics was bipolar. It was either the USA or the USSR/Russia. But in past one year visible changes have been observed where we have emerging small power houses. These power houses do not directly align themselves towards USA or Russia but deal for their own interests maintaining amicable relations with both the superpowers.

This visible change and shift was initiated long in 2012 during the Arab springs. But Covid – 19 and the Russia Ukraine war gave it a boost. Several are responsible for this shift like:

  • Oil dominated global economy.

  • Weapons dominated US economy.

  • Biased nature of United Nations.

  • Negligence towards South – East Asian nations.

  • Europe’s dependency on Russia for gas.

  • Food and energy shortage.

Global economy has been dominated by oil for past 60 years. But in coming century oil reserves are depleting and people are looking forward towards clean energy. The Russia Ukraine war led towards petroleum shortage which made the oil prices to rise. For this OPEC was forced to increase its oil production. Major affected countries are the Middle – Eastern countries. It has been a devoted block towards United States. But in recent year, the crown Prince of Saudi Arabia had a series of meetings with Russian President signing several deals. OPEC ignored the back to back directions of US to increase oil production. The US President had to personally visit Saudi Arabia for deals to be signed. Saudis establishing a good relationship with Bharat. A secret meeting between Saudis and Israeli PM gives various signals. On the other side UAE another prominent country in the Middle – East projecting itself as a soft power in the world. It is looking forward to make itself a tourist destination in coming years.

The Russia – Ukraine war was provoked by US. Even after one year of war no one is talking of de – escalation. US sending M1A1 Abram Tanks to Ukraine. Also made other two countries UK and Germany to send their tanks to Ukraine. A ton of weapons have already been sent to Ukraine. This de stabilizes Europe. Moreover the western block forces countries to stop buying cheap oil from Russia and move towards costly oil. A country as small as Romania stood firm against this stating they will not stop trade with Russia. Bharat has also experienced pressure to stop buying oil from Russia. But it has sustained. During Covid – 19 pharmaceutical companies were selling vaccines at a very high cost. Neither WHO not the WTO was regulating it. It was Bharat who came forward and pitched for TRIPS wavier (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights). Which made vaccines cheap for African and other third world countries. During Russia Ukraine war UN just gave statements on how war is bad but did no ground work to de – escalate the conflict.

The major threat to south East Asian nations is China. But neither their issues are addressed in global forum nor they are getting fair representation in UN. Few days back we have seen the so called initiative by US specifically anti – China in south East Asian nations. The IPEF (Indo – Pacific Economic Forum). As per the US it is an anti-China group with a mandate to counter the Chinese economy in Indo – China region. ASEAN nations were urged to join it. But the main issue was the absence of arch rival of China, Taiwan. US did no efforts to make Taiwan its member. This simply raises questions over the so called “Anti – China” nature of IPEF.

Europe is dependent on Russia for nearly 90% of its gas and oil demand. The main life line is Nord Stream 1, 2, 3 and 4 pipelines. The 2022 sabotage made 3 of the 4 pipelines in operable. According to recent news US is accused for this. Obviously Whitehouse calls all these accusations baseless. But due to energy scarcity Europe is facing heavy inflation. German automobile industry is affected badly.

When the war was started sanctions were laid on Russia. Russia is the second largest wheat exporter. Ukraine is the largest wheat exporter. When Russia invaded Ukraine it captured Donbass region and cut – off Ukraine’s access to ports. Thus Ukraine was not able to export and there was no one ready to import from Russia due to sanctions. Russia is also a fertilizer exporter. Due to sanctions it was not able to export fertilizers. This laid to higher prices of fertilizers and degraded agriculture yields, pushing world towards food shortage. The world was already affected by Covid – 19 badly, and then came this energy and food shortage.

Through all this Bharat emerged as a successful and an important power in south Asia.  The Vaccine diplomacy during Covid – 19 established new and strong bonds of friendship. These ties were once again tested during SAGAR and SAGAR 2 (Strength and Growth for all in the Region) initiatives. Bharat has not just donated vaccines but also essential medicines like paracetamol and Hydroxychloroquinn during pandemic. Bharat has also helped its neighbor’s with Oxygen during the first wave of Covid – 19. In addition to this Bharat has successfully fought in UN for TRIPS wavier, due to which cheaper vaccines were available for third world countries.

Considering the trade, Bharat is having strong relations with countries around the world. It has emerged as a major defence equipment exporter. It has exported weapons to Lichtenstein, Nigeria, Vietnam, Philippines, SriLanka and Myanmar. Many countries are considering Bharat as a defence equipments provider and the negotiations are going on. Bharat has helped its neighbors to get out from the debt trap of China. It has given credit line to Maldives twice. Bharat gave a credit line to Srilanka for buying fuel. It has also helped Bangladesh and Nepal to get rid of Chinese debt.

Talking of Bharat as an important south Asian power, best example can be seen during the Russia-Ukraine war. As the sanctions were imposed on Russia, Bharat continued the trade. New Delhi was pressurized by the western block. But it sustained the pressure and continued buying not only oil but also fertilizers, natural gas, oil seeds, chemicals, wheat, plastics, rubber and many more. Bharat imports unrefined oil from Russia and exports refined oil. It has emerged as 5th largest refined oil exporter in the world. A number of companies currently dealing with New Delhi to set up their manufacturing plants in Bharat.

In recent days the shift in policies has been vividly noticed. The days have been gone when Bharat used to do things under global pressure, now if you want to deal with Bharat you must have something for them on your plate.

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