Saturday, December 2, 2023

India’s foreign policy will be affected by corona epidemic

By  Alee khan

 Today the entire nation is fighting a war against the invisible virus.  The second wave of Coronas has come out horribly.  There is an atmosphere of chaos around the second wave being activated.  Meanwhile, the country is forced to face a huge shortage of oxygen.  Today, pictures of the dismal health services are emerging from all over the country.  Today we have become dependent on foreign nations for oxygen.  There are reports of oxygen being imported from many countries.  While Corona is at its peak in the country, inflation is touching its peak.  Actually, the life of the common man has become difficult today.

 Corona continues to wreak havoc in India.  Statistics show that the number of infected individuals has doubled within the last 20 days with great speed.  According to the ‘Worldometer’, the number of infected persons in India has crossed 36 lakhs.  More than 27 lakh under-treated patients in the country are from only 10 states.  While Maharashtra is at the top in terms of active cases, Karnataka is at the second, Kerala third, Uttar Pradesh fourth and Rajasthan at the top five.

 In the meantime, UNICEF has called it a danger bell about the situation in India.  The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has described the current situation in India as worrisome.  UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Four said the terrible state of Kovid-19 in India is a warning to all, its resonance will be heard until the world steps in to help India.

 It is clear that after a gap of 17 years, India is going to accept any foreign aid.  The main reason behind this is the second wave of Kovid-19 epidemic and its aggressive and terrible results.  Foreign aid will affect India’s foreign policy to a great extent in future.  The second wave of Coronas has become a terrible situation in India today, as a result of which our dependence on foreign nations has increased to remove our oxygen shortage and maintain the health structure.  India’s foreign policy is bound to be affected by this.

 After dealing with Corona, the biggest challenge before India will be whether India will be able to maintain its dominance over regional politics as before.  India’s leadership in South Asian countries depends mainly on three things.  First, the goods and services provided for assistance.  Second, political dominance and the third historical relationship.  In such a situation, due to Kovid-19, there will be a negative impact on the physical assistance to neighboring countries and at the same time it will challenge political dominance.  In such a situation, it will be the biggest challenge to maintain India’s territorial dominance due to historical ties only.

 Following Corona’s havoc, China’s incursion into India’s strategically important locations may increase.  China has already challenged India within the Indian subcontinent because of its ‘checkbook diplomacy’.  Thus, the second wave of the Kovid-19 pandemic may accelerate this process.  Due to this epidemic, India seems incapable at present to compete with China in terms of material power, balance of power and political will.

 India’s position in the quad is almost certain to be affected.  Kovid-19 may put a stop to any of India’s ambitious military spending or modernization plans.  In such a situation, the focus of the country may be on global diplomacy and regional geopolitics instead of internal problems.  The reduction in military expenditure and less attention to regional geopolitics are bound to have an impact on India’s ability to contribute to strengthening the ‘quad’.

 Along with this, diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region is likely to be affected.  India is an important country in the Indo-Pacific region, but due to the inability to play an important role due to Kovid-19 and China’s strategy to woo smaller nations in the region, the balance of power is finally seen to go in favor of China.  The Kovid-19 epidemic has led to an economic crisis as well as a decline in foreign direct investment and a decline in industrial production and an increase in unemployment, which have undoubtedly limited India’s strategic ambitions.  In view of China’s growing dominance in the Indo-Pacific region and the growing number of issues related to Kovid-19 in India and growing infections, the US may seek to normalize its economic relations with China.  Another possible consequence of the loss from the second wave of Kovid-19 could be that India is forced to enter into a treaty with China on its terms.  Kovid-19 may make it difficult for India to oppose close military ties with the US.  In such a situation, the havoc of Corona will affect India’s future foreign policy to a great extent.

 Our country India needs to be particularly cautious about its foreign policy, along with control over Corona.  The havoc of Corona has ruined the economy of our country.  In such a situation, the time coming for us can be very painful.  Today the war continues with our corona.  We hope that our country will be victorious in this fight with the power as soon as possible.  We also hope that the Indian government will make an effort on a war footing to control the horrific situation arising out of Corona very soon.

 (Author is  Jaisalmer based freelance writer, columnist and commentator. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at [email protected])

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