Multi Polarity: Changing Tides in World Power

Supposedly you have been given a magnet- having more than two poles of attraction. Will the ‘multipolar’ magnet be more balanced or will turn the things more chaotic? Before we discuss multi-polarity in detail, always remember that when it comes to world politics, there are permanent interests and not permanent friends.

Multipolarity is basically the re-distribution of power where more than two nation-states have nearly equal amounts of military, cultural, and economic influence on the world politics. In the multi polar system, the international decisions would often be made for strategic reasons to maintain a balance of power rather than out of ideological or historical reasons. The countries are moving beyond USA and Russia to sustain their self-interests with respect to economic trade and defence. Countries like India and especially China have successfully marked their presence on the world map in the past decades. The G20 powerhouses are benefitting from this changing scenario as they are getting more bargaining power. Countries like Israel, France and UK are getting a fresh impetus with an increased say in the world scenario. 

A multipolar world that is intensely competitive and driven by balance of power is not without its risks. Europe has already witnessed the two world-wars which changed the political landscape of not only the continent but the world. We simply can’t ignore the bloodshed of millions of people and the mass migration. The ‘power-play’ disrupted the economies adversely with great toll on finances.

In this age of diffused power, countries with varying capacities, such as the United States, China, India and Russia, are not seeking to form disruptive relations, but are relying more on forming multilateral connections to acquire additional leverage. While United States continues to dominate the world map by imposing sanctions on the ‘opposing’ nations and sending its army troops, China is using both military and economic strategies to re-structure its positions. China continues to invest in other nations via OBOR (One Belt One Road) and capture foreign markets with its cheap manufactured goods to mark its presence. China aims to acquire military leverage by dominating not only South China Sea but also Indian Ocean routes. Israel is using its military advancements to establish its claims on Palestine and indulge in other affairs. The Saudi Arabia enjoys a strategic position in the Middle-east affairs and its strong tie-ups with United States make the country a regional super-power. No wonder countries with veto power in United Nation bodies and those with nuclear technologies dominate the power landscape.

Indian foreign policy, since Independence has primarily been non-aligned in nature. India has conventionally refrained from choosing or aligning completely with one side as opposed to the other. For instance, India managed to collaborate with both the superpowers during Cold War to serve its space programme interests- while India collaborated with the US for the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE) for telecommunication purposes, the launch of India’s first indigenous satellite Aryabhatta was made possible due to tie-ups with erstwhile Soviet Union.
In the changing times, the global community expects India to choose sides on the global issues. If the country needs to rise from the stature of third-world nation to the emerging power, it ought to have a stand on the issues affecting the world as present its viewpoint. India can no longer remain neutral in the global affairs in the name of ‘Non- Aligned Policy’. The recent involvement of POTUS Donald Trump and United Kingdom PM Boris Johnson to woo Indian diaspora eventually upholds India’s position. India was one of the few countries to be granted waiver from sanctions imposed on Iran last year. The positive response on surgical strikes by India against terrorism by world communities is welcoming and is the result of strong diplomatic and political ties.

On interpolating the current scenario, the world would be more and more multipolar. The allies and diplomatic ties would define a country’s reputation and stature. The division of power would eventually lead to decreased monopoly and regional supremacy. As the winds are changing its directions, India needs to strategically sail its tides. The perfect balance in COOPERATION, COMPETITION and CONTESTATION will be the key.

- Prateek Bansal

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