India’s Stand Against China’s Hegemony Reshaping Geopolitics

India maintains a strategic autonomy, balancing its interests with several major nations without over-reliance on any single country, particularly China.

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Lt Col Manoj K Channan
Lt Col Manoj K Channan
Lt Col Manoj K Channan (Retd) served in the Indian Army, Armoured Corps, 65 Armoured Regiment, 27 August 83- 07 April 2007. Operational experience in the Indian Army includes Sri Lanka – OP PAWAN, Nagaland and Manipur – OP HIFAZAT, and Bhalra - Bhaderwah, District Doda Jammu and Kashmir, including setting up of a counter-insurgency school – OP RAKSHAK. He regularly contributes to Defence and Security issues in the Financial Express online, Defence and Strategy, Fauji India Magazine and Salute Magazine. *Views are personal.

India is currently in a state of inertia, assuming a prominent position within the geopolitical landscape. The new Century is purported to be the Asian Century, with the lead players being India, China and Russia.

The Chinese have a lead by having a larger economy. While seemingly innocent, their initiatives of One Belt One Road / Belt and Road Initiative revealed the hegemonistic intent to control governments that had agreed.

India’s refusal to be a participant in the Chinese initiative and not kowtowing led to the occupation of the undefined Line of Actual control. Other than the clash at Galwan, which caused casualties on both sides, the PLA and the Indian Army have been manoeuvring for the occupation of dominating heights, particularly the Kailash Range.

Over the last three years, the CCP/PLA have kept the Indian Government and the Indian Army in particular engaged in border resolution talks, the last one held at two different locations at Depsang and Chushul. These talks were delegated to the Major General level to work out a resolution plan to be approved by the respective political leadership.

The BRICS and the G-20 summit are being viewed seriously. With a confirmed attendance of both leaders, a bilateral meeting between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi on the sidelines is possible. According to the Ministry of External Affairs brief, the two leaders did have a one-on-one meeting addressing the current contentious issues; if and when such a meeting happens, it is expected to give an impetus to resolving the boundary issues.

India should not be tied down to the boundary dispute and must fill in the gaps on development issues in the Global South. 

The events in Africa indicate that these nations want to break free from their occupiers, be it the French and the Chinese in the recent past. India is seen as a friendly country with no ambitions of territorial gains and not in “any camp” to compromise the sovereignty of the Nations that India engages with.

India’s Role

India has become prominent in international forums such as the BRICS and the G-20. India can favourably impact global social development goals, particularly as a leader among countries in the Global South. Many efforts, which are listed below, can be contributed to and undertaken by India.

South-South Cooperation

India can leverage its position as a leader in the Global South to promote South-South cooperation. This involves sharing knowledge, expertise, and resources with other developing nations to collectively address common challenges such as poverty alleviation, healthcare, education, and technology adoption. India could facilitate knowledge exchange platforms, technical assistance, and capacity-building programs.

Investment in Infrastructure

India could work within BRICS and other international platforms to promote investment in sustainable infrastructure projects in developing nations. This would foster economic growth and contribute to social development by improving access to essential services, connectivity, and quality of life for people.

Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals

India is known for its pharmaceutical industry and generic drug production. It can lead to promoting affordable and accessible healthcare solutions for developing nations. This could include collaborative research, technology transfer, and partnerships to combat diseases, improve healthcare delivery, and ensure access to essential medicines.

Renewable Energy

Given India’s efforts to expand its renewable energy capacity, it could share its experiences and expertise with other countries in the Global South. Collaborative efforts could include promoting renewable energy adoption, technology transfer, and capacity-building to address energy poverty and environmental concerns.

Agricultural Innovation

India could work to improve agricultural output and food security in developing nations. Sharing innovative agricultural practices, promoting sustainable farming methods, and allowing farmer information exchange could enhance livelihoods and reduce hunger.

Education and skill enhancement

India may focus on projects in developing countries to boost education and skill development. Scholarships, exchange programmes, and cooperation across educational institutions can help produce a skilled workforce, contributing to economic growth and poverty reduction.

Digital Connectivity

With its expanding tech sector, India has the potential to foster digital inclusion across the Global South. Initiatives to increase digital literacy, boost internet connectivity, and use technology for socioeconomic development may have a significant influence.

Disaster Preparedness and Response

India could collaborate with other nations in the Global South to develop disaster management strategies, sharing expertise in mitigating the impact of natural disasters and providing humanitarian assistance during emergencies.

Cultural Diplomacy

India might work with other countries in the Global South to create disaster management plans, sharing experience in disaster mitigation and humanitarian support during catastrophes.

Advocacy and Policy Leadership 

As a global South leader, India may advocate for international policies prioritising social development, poverty reduction, and long-term growth. Furthermore, it can lead to attempts to address common issues such as climate change, global health crises, and inequality.

Competition with China

India’s ambitions to become a significant global participant, especially a future Asian power, are complicated by a complex interplay of political, economic, military, and strategic elements. While resisting or negating China’s influence is not India’s only goal, managing the dynamics with China is an important component of its foreign policy considerations.

Strategic Competition

Because India and China are two of the world’s largest and most populous countries, their interests often overlap and sometimes diverge. While India may not expressly seek to “negate” China’s influence, strategic competition between the two countries is natural to protect their interests and regional impact.

Economic Growth and Regional Leadership

The emergence of India as an economic giant can only lead to a more prominent involvement in regional dynamics. As it grows and diversifies, India’s economy has the potential to contribute to a more balanced regional order in Asia. A strong economy can help India engage with other countries, establish alliances, and promote regional stability.

Soft Power and Multilateral Engagement

India’s culture, democratic administration, and contributions to international peacekeeping are key soft power assets. India can alter the regional and global balance of power by actively participating in multilateral forums, alliances, and partnerships.

Balancing Act

India maintains a strategy of strategic autonomy, which implies it attempts to sustain excellent relations with several major nations but without totally aligning with any of them. This strategy enables India to balance its interests while avoiding over-reliance on any single country, particularly China.

Shared and Divergent Interests

While India and China compete in some sectors, they have common goals in trade, climate change, and global governance reform. Maintaining a healthy mix of cooperation and rivalry is critical for regional stability.

Diplomacy and Dialogue

Open communication and diplomatic interaction are critical to managing disagreements between India and China. Regular discussions and processes, such as border talks, can aid in conflict prevention and understanding.

Infrastructure and Connectivity Initiatives

India’s participation in infrastructure and connectivity initiatives, like the International North-South Transport Corridor, could provide other options for regional countries, broadening economic links and reducing reliance on a single actor.

Russia – Its Shared Role with India

Russia can help India maintain its leadership among the Global Southern Nations, especially its connection with Africa. 

Diplomatic Support

Russia and India have a long history of diplomatic relations. Russia might lend diplomatic support to India’s foreign endeavours, especially its efforts to strengthen its influence in the Global South. Joint comments and positions on Global South issues could boost India’s influence.

Multilateral Collaboration

Russia and India might work together to advocate for the interests of the Global South through multilateral bodies such as the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), and the BRICS. These venues enable people to address common challenges and promote progress.

Economic Cooperation

Russia should explore economic agreements with India that are aligned with India’s Global South aspirations. Joint investment projects, knowledge transfer, and trade agreements could all help with economic development, infrastructure, energy, and manufacturing collaboration.

Technology and Innovation

Russia’s experience in aerospace, nuclear energy, and defence technologies might be used to help develop Africa and other parts of the Global South. Collaboration on technology transfer, training, and capacity building can ensure long-term development.

Humanitarian Assistance

Russia and India could collaborate to provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief to countries in the Global South in need. Collaborative activities can demonstrate unity and mutual support during natural disasters, health crises, and other emergencies.

Cultural and Educational Exchanges

Russia may promote cultural exchange programmes, student scholarships, and educational alliances with India to increase people-to-people contact between Russia, India, and the Global South. Educational experiences that are shared can promote understanding and collaboration.

Advocacy and Representation

Russia could align its foreign policy stances with India’s in international forums on topics of mutual importance, raising India’s voice as a leader of the Global South.

Peacekeeping and Conflict Resolution

Russia’s experience in peacekeeping and conflict resolution could help India’s efforts in conflict-prone areas of the Global South. Collaborative projects have the potential to contribute to stability and progress.

Security Cooperation

Collaboration in maritime security, counter-terrorism, and regional stability could contribute to peace and security in mutually beneficial regions.

It is crucial to highlight that India’s pursuit of its interests and goals does not always mean conflict with China. Both countries are eager to discuss global and regional challenges and establish common ground. How India handles its relationship with China will be determined by several factors, including economic, geopolitical, and strategic considerations and changing world dynamics.

Collaboration between Russia and India to support India’s leadership in the Global South would necessitate interest alignment, strategic coordination, and a willingness to work together on shared goals. Both countries have demonstrated their ability to collaborate on various fronts in the past, and leveraging their existing alliance might result in significant contributions to the growth and stability of the Global South, including Africa.


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