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Challenges Amidst Global Conflicts in 2023


Despite India’s emphasis on an era of peace, the year 2023 saw significant conflicts, including the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip. These destructive conflicts, coupled with China’s assertive behavior, present substantial challenges and disrupt diplomatic efforts, causing concern not only in the West but also in India.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Overview of 2023 Global Geopolitical Trends
  2. Upcoming Challenges for India in 2024

Overview of 2023 Global Geopolitical Trends

Disruption in Israel-Arab Reconciliation:

  • Two years of efforts to normalize ties between Israel and the Arab world were disrupted by a Hamas attack, leading to casualties and hostages.
  • Israel’s disproportionate response garnered criticism, derailing the Israeli-Arab reconciliation process.

Bilateral Ties with the U.S.:

  • Despite successful visits, bilateral ties between India and the U.S. faced challenges over allegations of an Indian official’s link to an assassination plot against a Khalistani separatist in the U.S.
  • India’s response differed from its reaction to a similar accusation from Canada, emphasizing commitment to the rule of law.

Funding Challenges in Ukraine War:

  • Funding challenges for the West in the ongoing Ukraine war, with obstacles to assistance from the U.S. Congress and Hungary in the EU.
  • Putin’s imminent re-election and the resilient Russian economy, coupled with Moscow’s proximity to Beijing, cause concern in the West.

Geopolitical Shifts in Maldives:

  • The Maldivian government, close to China, asks India to withdraw military personnel and signals the termination of a water survey pact.

China as a Strategic Challenge:

  • China remains India’s major strategic challenge, with the ongoing Border Standoff and concerns about Moscow’s economic dependence on Beijing.
  • The Maldives aligning with China in the Indian Ocean adds to India’s strategic concerns.

India’s Diplomatic Success at G20:

  • India surprises the international community by negotiating a joint declaration at the G20 summit.
  • New Delhi’s mobilization of developing and less developed countries under the Global South umbrella is seen as a continuation of India’s Non-Alignment legacy in the 21st century.

Change in Afghanistan Embassy Leadership:

  • Change of guard in the Afghanistan embassy in New Delhi, with reassurances that Taliban symbols won’t be displayed.

Upcoming Challenges for India in 2024

Resolution of ‘Assassination Plot’ Issue with the U.S.:

  • Resolving the alleged Indian official link to an assassination plot in the U.S. poses a challenge, with the absence of the U.S. President at Republic Day causing delays in the Quad summit.

Managing Ties with Canada and the U.S.:

  • Canada’s allegations strain ties, but public support backs India’s response. Different approaches are required for the U.S. and Canada issues due to their distinct importance for India.

Ties with Pakistan and Elections:

  • India-Pakistan ties have remained strained since 2019, with elections due in Pakistan after February 2024. The outcome may influence the dynamics between the two countries.

Bangladesh Elections and Security Imperatives:

  • Bilateral ties with Bangladesh under the Sheikh Hasina government have seen positive momentum. India will be keen on her return to power, driven by security imperatives and concerns about the opposition.

Ongoing Border Standoff with China:

  • The border standoff with China, ongoing since 2020, remains a critical challenge. Any escalation may impact the security environment and India’s domestic political atmosphere.

Diplomatic Stance in Israel-Hamas Conflict:

  • India’s evolving stance in the Israel-Hamas conflict presents complex diplomatic challenges that require careful navigation.

Balancing Russian Oil Imports and U.S. Pressure:

  • Balancing India’s interests in importing Russian oil while navigating pressure from the U.S. amid the ongoing war shapes the country’s foreign policy strategy.

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024