It is only the third week of 2022 and the year has already started to look bleak. The intention was not to start the article on a gloomy note, but the reality needs to be dealt with face-to-face rather than keeping it on the back burner for too long. There are certain challenges that will govern global politics in 2022.
Democracy Struggling To Survive
The past couple of years have witnessed the rise of authoritarian governments and the weakening of democracy. The two major democracies of the world – India and the USA saw the rise in intolerance, racial and religious profiling, reduction in transparency, and press freedom.
Secularism is a pillar on which democracy is built, but in our home country, there is a growing intolerance against religious minorities. The recent case of Haridwar hate speeches, where the comments about the killing of Muslims were made, is only one example of it.
The election campaigns are based on religious polarization, rather than talks of actual growth. This is not the India our constitution-makers ever hoped for when they were framing the Preamble of our country.
China – The Rising Dragon In The East
The talks of China being a sleeping dragon are now a matter of the past. The dragon has woken up and it would be a major disruptor in this year’s political events. The country’s net worth is higher than the USA as per the estimations and China is treating it only as its first step.
It is not shying away from showcasing its military power. It has already stripped Hong Kong of its freedom last year, unbothered by the international opprobrium. It is now eyeing Taiwan, which has been long on its radar.
There are ongoing tensions between Lithuania and China over the former’s establishment of a Taiwan Representative Office which the latter saw as a threat to its claim over Taiwan. The European Union is caught in a bind amidst these tensions as it supports Lithuania but also wants to maintain trade relations with China.
Then, there is the ever-going matter of who gets to have greater control over the Asia-Pacific region. Last month, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged China to put a halt to its “aggressive policies” on his visit to the University of Indonesia. He said, ”
Claiming open seas as their own. Distorting open markets through subsidies to its state-run companies. Denying the exports or revoking deals for countries whose policies it does not agree with. Countries across the region want this behavior to change – we do too”
China claims the South China Sea as its own territory and the water’s resources. In fact, it has deployed anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles there, showcasing its power and openly challenging the USA.
Russia-Ukraine: A War Coming?
The biggest matter of concern that requires our immediate attention is the Russia-Ukraine crisis involving NATO. For the last three decades, NATO (North-Atlantic Treaty Organization) has been expanding its influence violating the understanding signed after the Cold war.
Ukraine was a major power in the Soviet Union, and if it unites with NATO, then it hurts Russia’s position in the East. Putin has to avoid such a scenario at all costs, even if it involves a military clash.
The recent talks between the two major powers proved inconclusive as neither of the sides compromised on their respective stand. Russia demanded a guarantee from NATO that it would never include Ukraine in its alliance and that it would withdraw its reach from the eastern territories that it expanded onto.
Both The USA and NATO did not oblige to this, out of the obvious reason that NATO has an open-door policy.
Russia has been increasing security at Ukraine’s border, preparing itself for the eventuality of a war if it comes to that.
Rise Of Terrorist Organizations
Taliban officially took control of Afghanistan in 2021 and its consequences are remarkably visible. It has boosted the spirits of ‘anti-state militant groups’ in Asia. The prime example of this is the fuelling of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Pakistan.
TTP is indirectly linked to al Qaeda and thrives on its jihadi politics. It is already expanding its reach in other Asian countries, mostly Kazakhstan that is internally struggling as the public protests against the price hike of LPG.
In Indonesia as well, the Jemaah Islamiyah is enlarging its sphere of action and radical Islamist activities are taking place.
Line Of Actual Control Issue
For India, the LAC issue has been long-standing and does not seem to end any time soon. China is entrenching its troops across the border and becoming more confrontational.
The satellite images confirmed the construction of a bridge across a river in Ladakh that facilitates the movement of Chinese soldiers across the region, significantly reducing their time.
The alarming aspect is that India is not reacting swiftly and aggressively to Chinese moves. In an earlier instance, China changed the name of 15 of Arunachal Pradesh’s districts and India’s response was lukewarm, at best.
Our Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that India too is building infrastructure rapidly, but he failed to mention that it is nowhere in comparison to the aggression with which the Chinese are constructing.
What’s In Store For India
India needs to face these challenges in 2022 diplomatically and with a designated plan of action. The first order of business across the border should be to entrench our military base, not just to saber-rattle China but also to establish its position as a direct competitor of China.
India shares healthy diplomatic relations with most countries which makes it difficult in the present condition when the time comes to take sides. India has a traditional friendship with Russia, but so with the USA and the European Union.
The Second Quad consists of members with varying interests (India, the UAE, the USA, and Israel), and how India navigates through these conflicting interests would be crucial in determining its global stand.
The time has come to face the reality with gusto and how our leaders take on this challenge would decide the fate 2022 has in store for India.
Disclaimer: The article is fact-checked.
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