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Post Corona world order: Implications and opportunities for India

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After WWII, the world order underwent a dynamic transformation, from bipolar world to unipolar world after disintegration of USSR, from regional groupings to wider alliances and now from multilateral groupings to groupings on specific issues. The complexity of the world interactive order has increased by the day and today it’s a diplomatic nightmare to identify common grounds with diverse groupings, at times contradictory to the national issues. The actual position of any Nation in this Labyrinth has become unpredictable to a level that every move has to be planned and executed in a dynamic manner with continuous course corrections.

In this quagmire of bemused clutter in international affairs, suddenly world saw the emergence of China, causing an impregnable challenge to global supremacy of USA. The Chinese communist government used myriad tactics in the book i.e economic terrorism, military imperialism, Buddhist communalism and social expansionism, wherever possible, in the world to ensure that they establish their supremacy as the sole superpower in this world. This was done in a very prudent and meticulous manner without ruffling the feathers of USA.  China almost succeeded in its designs but for the emergence of Trump as President of United States of America. Donald Trump, a shrewd businessman, visualised the china game from the point of WORLD ECONOMIC ORDER. Trump prepared diligently to counter china’s burgeoning predominance and challenged china openly with an invigorated USA nationalistic slogan “AMERICA FIRST”. This gave rise to an open economic war between the two super entities in the world and extended this rivalry to outer space and cyber space on war footings.

Chinese leadership took a deliberate view of the new President and diligently studied the likely moves of so called NATIONALIST PRESIDENT at the helm and course corrected to evolve a long term plan to pursue its ambition which it had been nurturing since 80s. It is alleged that China took the help of biological Warfare and used a bio weapon, i.e Wuhan virus, clandestinely to subjugate the world to its desires as planned. In so doing, it had to sacrifice a good number of its own citizens which as per the Communist regime, probably is too small a price to pay for larger National ambitions. It was an immaculate plan executed to perfection after ensuring supremacy in Central Committee Of Chinese Communist Party Politburo (CCCCP), i.e more than 99% of seats.

Initially China, with the connivance of WHO, declared itself victim. Simultaneously, it ensured that the Wuhan virus spreads around the world especially to the targeted nations. All along it ensured that WHO toes china’s line. Then all of a sudden, it announced victory over the pandemic, propounding the theory of business as usual. Thereafter, all guns were blazing to promulgate China’s image as MASSIHA in this world to alleviate the sufferings of nations engulfed in the pandemic enthusiastically doling out humanitarian benevolence and commercial aid to fight this virus.

Now that the world is busy in fighting the Wuhan virus, China is busy affecting hostile taking over the industries world over, which crashed by over 70% due to the pandemic. The Chinese game has now been understood world over and precautions are being taken by countries to protect its industry either by amending Government Regulations for mergers and acquisitions or aiding their respective industry and businesses to move out of China. Proactive changes  by amending the laws regarding Direct foreign investments in countries like USA, Australia, Spain, Germany , France,  other EU and African nations have already been incorporated to prevent uncalled for Chinese economic adventurism.

Today, India happens to be in the middle of a war against Wuhan virus struggling to contain stage 2.  Everyone including political leaders, bureaucrats, medical experts, intellectuals and industrialists are busy fighting the virus, struggling to save the lives of the citizens and minimising its effects on our economy. The major economic or fiscal decisions depend on the prevailing world order. But is it possible to predict the world order, post this pandemic? What would be the face of the world when the prevailing clouds of uncertainty clear? What kind of economic world order will we see after this crisis is over? It is difficult to answer these questions. But what can be said with fair conviction is that world order post this pandemic will definitely require major overhaul in line with the emerged paradigms on the world horizon.

First of all let’s see the fate of world bodies. This crisis has thrown up the questions of efficacy of UNO. The restructuring of United Nations Security Council has been talked about since long. This crisis has shown that China could ensure that a discussion on Wuhan virus does not take place, giving flimsy reasons. Hence, a joint strategy to fight this menace could not be followed in time resulting in over 1.5 million infections with over hundred thousand deaths and still counting.

This pandemic also exposed the helplessness of WHO. Under Chinese economic clout and diplomatic muscle the DG WHO, a Chinese sympathizer, failed to warn the world in time about this pandemic, probably as per express instructions from Chinese leadership. Sycophant  WHO kept praising China in their war of pandemic. While, they should have formulated world policies for prevention of spread of Wuhan virus, whose gigantic proportions of death and mitigation are still rising exponentially. No wonder Japanese Deputy Prime Minister called the WHO as Chinese Health Organisation. Similarly, Taiwan was excluded for aid by WHO on China’s behest. However, Taiwan has proved that WHO has no relevance in their plan to fight this menace. Similarly, the present hypocritical system of UNHRC is irrelevant as far as India is concerned. Its role in Kashmir has been nothing but partisan.  Post Corona scenario, there is a likelihood of demand to revamp the entire UNO.  Even Indian PM in G20 virtual Summit obliquely hinted that WHO is structured on the tenets of 20th century and is not fit for the requirements of 21st century. Major restructuring is a definite requirement for the changed landscape of world diplomacy in 21st century.

As far as India is concerned, there are plenty of ramifications of these events. During this period, India must realise that globalisation, as envisaged in pre Corona period, is losing sheen. Multilateralism on issues would also be less in demand. Emphasis will be on smaller groupings in the regional context to co-operate. Maximum International issues like fight against Corona etc may be dealt in regional grouping. Like it happened in case of SAARC less Pakistan where India emerged an effective leader and major contributor to Corona  fund.  Similarly India had invigorated the roles of BIMSTEC. Going by  India’s example of SAARC initiative and leadership, the G20 virtual Summit took place affording India a greater role in the world body.

In the similar manner, bigger alliances like QUAD also need to factor in the role of other Indian Ocean RIM countries of South and Southeast Asia.  It is no more the practice of just patrolling the Sea Lines of Communications with warships creating of fear psychosis and supremacy over the sea for commercial and military operations but will also entail mutual cooperation with regional States for synergising the efforts over extended lines of logistics.

Another major lesson that has been evolved from this tragedy is that over dependence on global supply chain nay well be counterproductive. In an emergent situation, it can dry out just the way defence supplies from a country friendly to your enemy, may withhold crucial defence supplies during war.  India has to think innovatively to upgrade its industrial base and be competitive with Chinese goods. The argument that Chinese labour is cheap, has been overrated for a long time now. The labour is most expensive in Switzerland, yet commercially, it is the most competitive country in the world due to its quality control regime. Nestle a MNC from Switzerland, has no presence in Swiss market due to its discriminatory policies towards its labour and the wages. Yet its products rule, more than half the world. Thus going by the example, India may take a leaf out of Swiss paradigms and endeavour to resurrect its shut API manufacturing units due Chinese competition.

Similarly, going by China success story, India may go all out for defence manufacturing by revamping and making the Indian industry viable. Private sector and PSUs may be given incentives to go for defence manufacturing in a big way. We need major reforms in health, agriculture, education and services sectors. This pandemic has thrown up great opportunities for us in biomedical sector, IT sector, delivery sector and e-commerce sectors .We must work diligently to make sure that we address labour reforms, work culture and ease of doing business etc so that we start competing in a reasonable manner in the world on economic front.

BRIGADIER (dr) VIJAY SAGAR DHEMAN is a defence and strategic affairs expert and is founder director of INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR J&K STUDIES AND ANALYSIS (IIJSA).

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