ESTABLISHING INDIA'S POLARITY IN GLOBAL POLITICS
A BALANCING ACT BETWEEN THE SCO AND THE QUAD
India’s foreign policy was historically rooted in movements like the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), but currently, to counter China’s rise in the Indo-Pacific region, India has joined a US-driven association, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD). India is also a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is a Eurasian bloc. The article explores India’s diplomatic balancing act by analysing its stance in the Ukraine-Russia conflict and its participation in the SCO and QUAD. It questions whether India merely balances or independently shapes international affairs. In balancing relationships with the SCO and QUAD, India demonstrates its diplomatic prowess and establishes a third pole, safeguarding its national interests. The article broadly explains and substantiates this statement.
India comprises one-fifth of the world’s population and currently boasts the world’s fifth-largest GDP. With its massive population, it holds immense potential in the global landscape. India’s foreign policy gave it a leadership role in the Global South, and loose coalitions such as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) have played a significant role.
In contemporary geopolitical issues, including China’s emergence as a dominant power and India’s pursuit of investments and exploration of extensive export markets, India has come closer to the West. Notably, India’s membership in the QUADrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) alongside the United States, Japan, and Australia signifies a substantial shift in foreign policy. The QUAD is a security and strategic coalition involving three other nations that have rivalries with China. The QUAD is aiming to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific, although China considers QUAD as an “Asian NATO”.
India’s alignment extends beyond QUAD, as it is also a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), together with China and Russia, as well as Pakistan and several Central Asian nations. The SCO focuses on ensuring and maintaining peace, security, and stability in the region, as well as promoting effective cooperation in politics, national and international trade, economy, science and technology, culture, education, energy, transport, tourism, and environmental protection. (http://eng.sectsco. org/cooperation/20170110/192193.html) The SCO offers India a platform to engage with both its neighbours and major powers
India’s decision to be part of both the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) raises questions about the diplomatic risks involved and India’s capacity to manage this delicate balancing act.
The conflict between Ukraine and Russia has significantly impacted the geopolitical landscape of world politics; leading Western nations seek bloc-like alignments either with the West or Russia. India, known for its balanced relations with both the East and West, faced unique challenges in their context. India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar asserted the ability to maintain good relations with both sides, emphasising India’s distinct policy and strategy.
Despite being a founding member of the QUAD, India has maintained its independent stance on the Ukraine-Russia conflict. India’s foreign policy position appears multi-dimensional and follows its traditional path in the global landscape in keeping with the guidelines of Non-Aligment adopted during the Cold War.