Problem With India’s Multi-Alignment Stand
India’s approach to conflict resolution has once again been under the spotlight as a result of China’s recent mediation efforts to address the Ukraine situation. To increase its appeal as a soft power player, India has increasingly exploited a variety of symbolic weapons of influence. India is being portrayed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the “mother of democracies” and as a “moral force” enforcing world peace.
Points to Ponder:
- In light of China’s recent efforts to mediate the Ukraine situation, the article explores India’s approach to conflict resolution.
- The author focuses on China’s objection to the American strategy for settling the crisis and compares it to India’s strategy, which entails frequent interactions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine.
- The frequent Modi-Zelenskyy encounters highlight India’s rising prestige and understanding of its special place in the new global order, despite Western criticism of India’s persistent reliance on Russian energy imports and selling of surplus refined Russian fuel to the European market.
- Emine Dzhaparova, Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister, claims that if India does not take a strong moral stance against Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty, the “Vishwaguru” image that the Indian administration aspires for the nation will remain flawed.
- The “Vishwa Guru” image’s current prominence draws attention to the distinctive quality of “soft power” in discussions of foreign policy, which is acknowledged as significant but limited in its practical implications.
- Mohan Bhagwat, the chairman of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ‘ideological fountainhead’ of India’s dominant political system, has admitted that India lacks hard power.
- Critics contend that India’s ambiguous stance on the Ukraine conflict is unbecoming of a country aspiring to join the UNSC permanently, which calls for a commitment to speak out against territorial aggression and human rights abuses like those Russia has inflicted upon Ukraine.
- The normative pillars supporting the “Vishwa Guru” identity, which is democratic, self-assured, and morally superior, cannot be the same as those supporting the cynical hegemon that seeks to maximise its power at all costs while being morally devoid.
- India’s ideas on sovereignty align with a widely accepted Westphalian idea and fundamentally diverge from the “might is right” political tenet of communist China.
- Global legitimacy for democracies can enhance and transfer India’s moral and ethical authority in international interactions.