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India should stick to the middle path in the new world disorder

(GS-II: International Relations)

In News:

India should follow a path of multi-engagement and not multi-alignment.


India has consistently resisted international pressure to criticise Russia and its actions.

For example, India has once again abstained from voting on a UN General Assembly resolution that condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The global order in international relations:

After the end of the 2nd World War: A bipolar world, led by the U.S. and the Soviet Union, emerged.

Following the disintegration of the Soviet Union (1991): Unipolarity replaced bipolarity, with the U.S. being its centre.

However, there have been discussions about whether American unipolarity has passed and a new world order (multipolar) has emerged.

Signs of the new world order:

China’s rapid rise

Russia’s aggressive foreign policy – the invasion of Ukraine, challenged the post-Cold War security equilibrium in Europe.

The S.’s ability to shape geopolitical outcomes is clearly in decline (withdrawal from Afghanistan).

Impact of this transition (from uni to multipolarity):

Leaving the world in flux. Lack of clarity on which direction the world is headed makes policy-making harder for middle powers like India.

While many governments (including India, Russia and China), welcome multipolarity, the U.S. remains the world’s most powerful military power.

India and the Non-alignment success:

When India became independent, the Cold War was in its early stages.

India’s non-alignment foreign policy doctrine (equidistant from both blocs) did well in managing most of its (ideological and geopolitical) challenges.

Criticised as too idealistic, India has actually been flexible in readapting itself to the changes in the global and regional equations.

In the 1970s, after China started moving closer to the U.S., India started tilting towards the Soviet Union but stayed out of any Soviet-led military alliances.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, India sought to transform its ties with the U.S. and integrate itself with the global economy in the new era of globalisation.

But it also maintained close defence and strategic ties with Russia and built a vibrant economic partnership with China.

A new set of challenges for India in the new global disorder:

S.-China’s great power contest in Asia is unfolding right in India’s neighbourhood.

The power imbalance between India and China, tempted India to join the American bloc.

Abandoning its strategic autonomy and joining the U.S.-led bloc would limit India’s options, besides provoking China.

Border disputes between India and China.

China has developed a strategic partnership with Pakistan and is raising its influence in other South Asian and Indian Ocean countries.

So, on all fronts (including challenges to India’s maritime influence), India faces the heat of China’s rise.

Other challenges faced by India: U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s return to power.

How Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has complicated the situation for India?

Russia is a traditional partner with which India has deep defence ties.

As the West has moved to isolate Russia with heavy sanctions, India is under huge pressure to take a more critical position on Russia’s actions.

The West’s move to isolate Russia in Europe would push the country further into the Chinese embrace.

Way ahead for India:

Learning from China. In the 1970s, China broke away from the Soviet communist fold and built a quasi-alliance with the U.S. and helped the ‘imperialist bloc’ defeat the Soviet communists.

Once China acquired enough economic and military power, it started gradually challenging the U.S.

Therefore, India’s primary focus should be on transforming itself economically and militarily, bridging the gap with China.

India should present itself as a natural stabilising power in South Asia and the Indian Ocean Region, and a source of prosperity.

To address its continental security challenges, India has to work with Eurasian powers such as Russia and Iran, both of which are at odds with the U.S.


India should opt for multi-engagement (not multi-alignment) for a multipolar world, creating new pillars of the new global order through engagement and partnership with middle powers.


In News:

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) stumbled upon a 1,300-year-old stupa in a mining site in Odisha’s Jajpur district.


The site is being used for supplying Khondalite stones to the 12th Century Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri


A stupa could be 5-metre tall

May belong to the 7th or 8th century

What is a Khondalite Stone?

  • Khondalite (named after the Khond tribe of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh) is a foliated metamorphic rock
  • It is also called Bezwada Gneiss and Kailasa Gneiss
  • These stones were widely used in ancient temple complexes

The powers of Governors regarding assembly sessions

In News:

The Solicitor General told the SC that the Punjab Governor had summoned the state Assembly for a budget session.


This came minutes before the SC was set to hear a challenge by the Punjab government against the Governor, over his refusal to summon the Budget session of Vidhan Sabha.

The Governor had cited Article 167 of the Constitution, which relates to the duties of the Chief Minister in furnishing information to the Governor.

Can the Governor refuse to summon the assembly?

Article 163(1) of the Indian Constitution says that there shall be a council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions.

However, except in cases where s/he is required under this constitution to exercise his/her discretion.

Under Article 174, a Governor shall summon the House at a time and place, as s/he thinks fit.

Article 174 (2) (a) says a Governor may from “time to time” prorogue the House and 174 (2) (b) allows her or him to dissolve the Legislative Assembly.

A joint reading of the two provisions leaves the Governor with minimal discretion in summoning the house. For example, when the CM has lost the support of the House and his strength is debatable.

In 2016, the SC (in Nabam Rebia case) held that the power to summon the House is not solely vested in the Governor.