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India and post-Wuhan/Covid19

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World including India is facing a grave situation where economies are at halt, people are inside, and the virus has affected more than 1.5 Million people, there is one country, the originator i.e. China has resumed all the activities and people are back on the streets. After World-War-2 this is the first world-wide challenge where almost all the countries are affected and the globalization has seen its negative impact. I will talk about post-Wuhan/Covid19 attack on humanity, it’s implications on India and a probable hypothetical scenario in this essay below.

China has resumed all the activities where people are again moving on the streets and business has started for domestic consumption after more than 70 days lock-down, the people are happy and TV visuals are inspiring as they celebrate the dawn of new century as China has started to claim the world hegemony where they are finding successful attempts, whether it be in Europe or other parts of the world, countries are thanking China for the medical equipment and various other kits. Although there are reports that some countries due to lower-quality are sending back the material the only exception is Pakistan which recently got material made not out of required material as given by WHO’s specifications. But what if China successfully achieves the hegemony through this virus attack? There is a theory in Political Science and International Relations that a country can persist hegemony up to 100 years, from the past examples of UK, France, and other EU countries theory can be accepted, if accepted then the USA has to contest for its place in near future, and the future may be today in 2020 or 2021 where China through OBOR/BRI, debt-trap and other kinds of moves which were taken by the USA nearly a century ago can be seen with crystal clear dimensions.

India, where the second-largest population lives, the biggest democracy on the planet Earth, will be affected by this change in the world order. Firstly, China has an “all-weather-friend” called Pakistan. Let’ visit this scenario where China is all-powerful, in the region and already created a Bi-Polar world again, where the USA is struggling to keep its pace in keeping world order, then Pakistan which is a proxy of China for India, to keep India engage and stress vital resources, will cheer. The non-state-actor will find easy targets in India, and there will be an increase in terrorists activities and radicalization to destabilize India, which is very beneficial for China as well as other countries for the hegemony, and sole rule of China in India-Pacific.

Secondly, as China already moved ahead and has debt-trapped countries in place, India can be harmed strategically in the Indian Ocean where more investments and hegemony-ical-fear will keep countries in a neighborhood away from Indian interests. The Strait-Of-Malacca will be ruled by China as well as South China sea and clearly there will be a polarisation due to the so-called “National Interest” and “BoP” in the region. Thirdly, the energy security of India which is prime importance to India will be endangered, due to Gwadar port which is obviously owned by China, and China’s naval army presence will see frequent contestation. Africa and small islands will see the rise of Chinese naval bases, which directly impacts India because of the presence of Indian oil supply lines in this region. The busiest route i.e. Suez Canal route will be controlled by China too, and this affects the EU where they will have to subdue to China due to the already presence of BRI and now the control of China through companies in EU and other parts of the world. This will surely affect India’s interests worldwide. Lastly, if Pakistan becomes powerful in China’s reign then Afghanistan will be more destabilized and as the USA is withdrawing, therefore, there can be an increase in the rate of terrorism in other parts of the world and India can see the radicalization of people.

The above is a hypothetical situation, where if we think the post-Wuhan/COVID world need to be controlled by powers of the world, as we have already seen WHO’s brassiness, and UNSC resolutions are already vetoed by China stating “racist” factors, although that wasn’t applied in Zika or Ebola or other virus pandemics. Therefore, world order needs to be restored post-crisis. India needs to take steps to keep our national interest and contest Chinese hegemony in the near future. First, as India has taken leadership of Pharma products which are now allowed to export is a great step where the world will experience India’s soft power as J. Nye has stated about it. India needs to ramp up production and also see that we make medical equipment also so that we can counter Chinese low-quality products with our Make In India products. Secondly, the revival of SAARC is a step in the right direction, India has already created the COVID fund and countries are already contributing the fund, India already sent many packages to Sri-Lanka as well as the Maldives, but needs to take further steps, such as creating a Post-COVID engagement and policy on the economy, MSME revival and tourism, such that at least countries other than Pakistan come aboard and there is need to be greater engagement.

Thirdly, India must also engage with BIMSTEC, as BIMSTEC is more functional than SAARC in recent past, also it does include other countries that are part of the Act-East policy of India., same as in SAARC there should be a COVID fund and later engagement through economic policies and strategic policymaking. There can a wider financial engagement through the Bond market and there can be a BIMSTEC bank that can finance reenergizing the economy. Fourthly, to revive the domestic economy India shouldn’t keep the check on fiscal deficit and we must amend FRBM to push the targets to some other year, as 3.0% is a utopian concept linked to EU markets. Lastly, India must invite companies such as Japanese, South Korean, American and others to come and invest. For that, we must enhance Ease of doing business and work on the Plug-and-Play model of the development where the companies must find it easier to start without any complexity of licenses or clearing from various ministries. Japan has already announced a package of 20% of its GDP and we must utilize this opportunity to give companies a great experience in India. This will solve our upcoming unemployment and low-GDP growth rate.

 

As already stated that this is all hypothetical situation but the solutions are not. China can be hegemonic but there is a problem for China also that it is majorly an export-dependent economy and majority of its market area are in crisis i.e. USA and EU, the further USA has openly criticized China for spreading this virus and this needs to be seen what will happen when the USA comes out of the grace situation. China is also facing a fall in forex reserves and many countries are failing in debt-servicing, therefore, this also adds to the problem of China. But it is to see in the future what the world order be post-COVID/WUHAN virus pandemic. But one thing is sure Honourable Prime Minister of India N. Modi is taking the right steps at right time, it’s the right time where India can lead the world and be a world Guru as in past.

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