- GS-2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Middle Powers and Multipolarity
New Cold War
- US vs China: U.S. continues to view China as its principal adversary on the world stage and that it will use the Quad to challenge China in the Indo-Pacific, possibly as part of a “new Cold War”.
- Realignment of geopolitical theatre: The new Cold War is now being reflected in a new geopolitical binary — the Indo-Pacific versus Eurasia.
- Growing Russia-China Axis: U.S. animosity has encouraged China and Russia to solidify their relations. Besides significantly expanding their bilateral ties, the two countries have agreed to harmonise their visions under the Eurasian Economic Union sponsored by Russia and China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
- Challenge to QUAD: Russia-China axis has now been subsumed under the ‘Greater Eurasian Partnership’ to which both are committed. Both have condemned the Quad for “undermining global strategic stability”.
- The final shape of this divide will be determined by four nations, namely Japan, Iran, Turkey and India, which, as “middle powers”, have the capacity to project power regionally, build alliances, and support (or disrupt) the strategies of international powers pursuing their interests in the region.
- Japan and India are deeply entrenched in the Quad and have substantial security ties with the U.S.
- Iran has for long been an outcaste in western eyes and has found strategic comfort with the Sino-Russian alliance.
- Turkey, a NATO member, has found its interests better-served by Russia and China rather than the U.S. and its European allies.
- The four middle powers, whose choice of alignment will impart a political and military binary to world order, are reluctant to make this a reality.
- These nations could find salvation in “strategic autonomy” — defined by flexible partnerships, with freedom to shape alliances to suit specific interests at different times.
- These four middle powers will thus make multipolarity, rather than a new Cold War, the defining characteristic of the emerging global order.
Connecting the dots: